Obesity not a problem solved by campaign, punishments

Obesity leads one to form many assumptions: this person is lazy; this person is careless; this person should be punished. In the last ten years, employees at a normal and healthy weight have been actively contributing to programs that would allow them to gain “financial perks,” perks the heavier employees would not receive. They cite a frustration with heavy individuals that are working beside them.

These programs have encouraged overweight employees to lose weight by taking action, such as higher taxes on junk food, and even slander. These actions have been taken to quell frustration toward others that are not at a healthy weight, Let’s say they are fed up.

There have been petitions, interviews and protests trying to offset the obesity rate. The most shocking campaign was one that took place in Florida by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA. Their campaign declared “Save The Whales,” presenting an overweight woman wearing a bikini. An interview with the head of the Cleveland Clinic, a prestigious medical center, Toby Cosgrove, admitted that in his opinion the nation should stop hiring obese individuals.

There is no doubt that obesity is a danger — a danger causing heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, organ failure and many other things As a female fifty pounds less than I used to be, I can tell you first hand that being fat is not fun.

It is wonderful that weight loss is encouraged, but is it necessary to punish individuals? Should they get less job benefits? Such measures are ridiculous.

Individuals that are overweight generally have some deep, psychological barrier that thwarts their efforts to lose weight and get in shape. Whether it is emotional eating they are engaged in or boredom, a person carrying too much “baggage” will lose the weight when ready to do so. That is, if they are ever ready. It is an inner battle within oneself that must be negotiated. Giving less work benefits will not be the motivation to help America slim down.

Jim Dailakis, an actor from Los Angeles, stated that the “fat issue” frustrates him especially when he is travelling. He said that it was extremely unpleasant to sit between two immensely large people on an airplane.

Public relations professional, Michael Kellner, shared his disgust, making reference to obesity dramatically raising charges on health care. Obesity is an illness and, yes, being sick does pull from funds.

It is unfortunate that certain individuals’ lifestyles affect those who don’t share the same unfortunate struggles. I think it is outright rude to comment on an epidemic without understanding its full extent.

Many issues are compared to obesity. Smoking is included. People will discriminate against differences as long as they can differentiate between two things. This is what I believe to be true about the obesity epidemic.

Is it an issue because it is detrimental to one’s life? Must we empathize with the slim bystanders? Or do we have nothing better to do than comment and criticize one another. Maybe it’s both or maybe it’s neither. With that said, the only one who will make a difference in their weight is the one struggling. No campaign, no protest, no punishment will positively contribute.

Rebecca Eisenberg is a sophomore philosophy major and contributing writer for the Daily 49er.




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