Thanks Anon, I lol'd! Lawmakers in the Mississippi state legislature have introduced a bill that would prohibit serving food to people deemed to be obese. I couldn't imagine Sizzler or TGI Fridays lasting for too long if this bill was passed! Hahahaha
(Feb. 6) - Nutrition experts are burning up calories in expressing their outrage over proposed legislation in Mississippi that would prohibit restaurants from serving obese customers. They say the proposed bill, still in committee, is "ridiculous," "insane" and a wrong-headed approach to solving the national obesity epidemic. State Rep. John Read, a Republican who is one of the bill's three authors, says he wasn't trying to offend anybody and never even expected the plan to become law. "I was trying to shed a little light on the No. 1 problem in Mississippi," he says. The state has the highest obesity rate in the USA.
Steve Holland, the Democratic chairman of the House Public Health and Human Services Committee, said in a statement he will "pocket veto" the bill. "It's dead on arrival at my desk."
Although he appreciates the "efforts of my fellow House members to help curb the obesity problem in Mississippi, this is totally the wrong approach."
About one-third of Americans are obese (30 or more pounds over a healthy weight), and 66% are overweight or obese. Even so, obesity experts are outraged by the bill.
"It would be hard to concoct something more ridiculous," says Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
"This brings bias against obese individuals to a new and appalling level, and at a time when significant progress is being made in the effort to stop blaming obesity on the people who have it and to address the social and political conditions that drive it.
"Are these legislators fighting to get rid of soft drinks in schools? Are they working to stop the relentless marketing of unhealthy foods to children? Are they doing anything about the fact that poor people do not have access to healthy foods?"
Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, says the idea for the proposed law is "insane. I don't even know how to react to something so bizarre. This is five steps backward. This is not how you address the problem on so many levels.
"And what about civil rights? It's totally unenforceable, and you'd be alienating people. Most people who are obese don't want to be that way."
Morgan Downey, executive director of the Obesity Society, an organization of weight-loss researchers and professionals, calls the proposed law "the most ill-conceived plan to address a public health crisis ever proposed."
Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says the bill sponsors "should be ashamed of themselves. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for an overweight high school student to go to a restaurant with a few slimmer friends and not be allowed to buy certain foods?"
Food industry spokesmen agree.
J. Justin Wilson of the Center for Consumer Freedom, a group financed by the restaurant and food industry, said in a statement: "This is the latest example of food cops run amok. Are waiters supposed to carry scales around the restaurant and weigh every customer? Give me a break. What's next? Will waitresses soon be expected to make sure we eat all our veggies?"