13 April 2008

Discriminating Obese People

As obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S., so might our acceptance of those who are overweight. But a new study from Yale University suggests the converse trend: rather than feeling tolerance in our society, the overweight and obese say they feel more heavily discriminated against now than they did a decade ago.

"If a person perceives he is being discriminated against," Andreyeva says [lead author of the study], "it might have significant consequences for his or her health and mental health. Even the perception of discrimination can be important because it is self-perpetuating." And if rates of weight discrimination are indeed on the rise, say the authors, then it's up to society to mandate legal protections for those who are overweight, just as laws protect people from discrimination by race, gender, disability and age. [TIME, 11 April 2008]

It can't be helped, I guess. Those who are different and those who often discriminate can't live harmoniously together. Cultivating a behavior of tolerance and respect for all always requires a certain level of maturity on people. And maturity varies from person to person. Discrimination exists everywhere. It can begin as early as the primary years in school. How many times have fat kids ran away crying from too much teasing by classmates? When they grow up, the same thing happens in the work place. It is mentally and emotionally agonizing indeed.

Legal protection? Will that work? Will society even pass a law making discrimination of fat people a crime?

3 reactions:

MommyBa said...

I just wrote something related to this topic in my blog. Being overweight myself, I have experienced being discriminated. I once walked into a "regular" clothes store and the salesladies just looked at me as if I don't have a place in there when all I wanted to do was buy a piece for my sister. I didn't buy anything from that store because of that.

Legal protection? Hmmm, that's kinda new to me. But I don't think that will work. And with the kind of culture that we have where thin is beautiful, I don't believe that kind of an idea will even work for us, unless, we will have to change our culture.

rolly said...

hindi ba magka-iba yun doc? Being teased of something and being discriminated against? Medyo thin line nga siguro,no? If you are being called pig but is allowed to join the group, hindi ka naman siguro nadi-discriminate. Pero kung hindi ka makakuha ng trabaho for being obese, clearly, you are being discriminated. Ano ba naman ang masama kung gusto mong maging bikini model? hehehe

Dr. Emer said...

MOMMYBA - I totally agree. Some of our stores need seminars on sensitivity.

TITO ROLLY - Good point. Sometimes, discrimination begins inconspicuously. Not all teasing end up in discrimination, but some of them do.