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Are fat people equal?

| 13:20 UK time, Tuesday, 7 August 2007

You may have heard the news that Massachusetts is considering passing a new bill to protect overweight and unusually short people from discrimination at work. US State Representative Byron Rushing, who introduced the bill, sees it as a civil rights issue. Studies suggest that obesity can hold back people's careers - the tricky question is to what extent is being overweight a choice?

What do you think? Are fat people equal in society? And is an anti-discrimination bill the best way to make sure that employers treat them fairly?

We came across this very interesting article by Mary Carmichael of the Boston Globe, which lays out a lot of the issues raised by the proposed bill.

If most very overweight people who diet eventually gain back the weight they lose, then is it wrong to assume that being fat is their fault? And if being fat is something that is out of people's control, like gender or race, is it unfair to discriminate against them at job interviews?

What about jobs that require people to be fit or lift heavy objects, and the fact that overweight workers are more likely to take sick leave?

We'd love to hear what you think. Get in touch by posting a comment below, text us on +44 77 86 20 60 80, or call us at +44 207 557 0635.


  • Comment number 1.

    In your debate: should fat people pay more on airplanes:
    Clothing, shoes , furniture even bedding comes in several sizes and the prices are according to each manufacturing requirement. The more material used the more the cost: why not make airline seats in different sizes (small, medium or large and charge accordingly!!!One size does not fit all!
    Lets be realistic: many people are fat because of the growth hormones added to food (genetic engineering) !!!

  • Comment number 2.

    The space that a seat on an airplane takes up is the same for everyone, at the same price. If you want more space or need more space you should have to pay extra, matters not if you need it because your overweight or just want a place to put your briefcase.
    If people who are so overweight that they take up their neighbors space believe thats an acceptable practice why not seat them all together, that should also be an acceptable practice.

  • Comment number 3.

    Being fat doesn´t mean that you are fat for the rest of your life, so measures on an official level are not necessary.
    It is firstly the responsiblity of the people to change their overweight if they feel disadvantaged, if workers are too fat it is their private problem and up to them to change this.
    Apart from that, there are many examples that fat people have a strong social position and do make career!


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