Jessica Mondillo’s Blog

Mississippi Proposed a Bill to Stop Restaurants from Serving Obese People

07 February 2008

The Mississippi legislature proposed a bill that would ban restaurants from being able to serve obese people.  Mississippi has the highest obesity rate in the country and senate Republican John Read claims that he was not trying to offend anyone just shed light on a problem according to AOL News.

The bill is drawing criticism from many groups including activist groups, doctors and university research groups.  Even if the bill does pass through the legislature, Steve Holland, chairman of the House Public Health and Human Services Committee plans to use a pocket veto on it.

Personally I agree that the idea is crazy.  I have always heard that some people who are obese or overweight are that way not because they eat all the time but because either their body’s metabolism cannot keep up or because of other serious medical conditions.

How can a waiter or waitress who is trained to serve food determine who is obese and who is merely overweight?  In order to determine that properly, you have to have a person’s weight, height and a chart that breaks down what is obese for them.  If you are going to say it is by looks that is not fair either.  That is discrimination.  Cops cannot pull over young drivers who have multiple people in car and may be underage unless they have another offense to charge them with because it is discrimination.  Since discrimination is illegal, so is this bill which causes discrimination.

The other thing not mentioned by the bill is what effect it would have on business owners.  By not being able to serve obese people, you lose customers.  This hurts not just McDonald’s (which are actually run by small business owners not specifically the corporation) but also small family restaurants.  Since Mississippi has such a huge obesity rate, the owner would lose both customers and money during a time that is already economically tight which could cause them to go out of business.

Why John Read and the other two writers would propose this to shed light on a problem is beyond me.  Not only did they create a highly controversial bill, they do not believe it will even pass.  So why waste your time and other lawmakers time with a bill that is to shed light on a problem?  There are better solutions to the obesity problem that do not discriminate against obese people

Mississippi’s bill banning the serving of obese people at restaurants is a crazy idea.  It discriminates against people, something no public establishment is allowed to do even when hiring employees.  It hurts business owners.  And it is a waste of lawmaker’s efforts.


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