Liberal pockets of the Internet have been abuzz with a new topic, and it is gaining a lot of attention. The fat acceptance movement, also known as size acceptance, fat liberalism or the fat power movement, seeks to remove any sort of stigma associated with plus-sized people, and some have gone as far as to seek change to rules or regulations that they believe exhibits anti-fat bias.
The fat acceptance movement is something we cannot endorse. In fact, the fat acceptance movement is damaging society. Promoting the idea that it is acceptable to be fat discourages overweight people from getting in shape and becoming healthier individuals.
One of the goals that the fat acceptance movement strives toward is fair hiring practices, and it does have some legitimate gripes with discrimination against overweight individuals. These are not acceptable. For example, if someone has an anti-fat bias and refuses to hire overweight people, then this is a form of discrimination that is intolerable.
There are some exceptions to this rule because some occupations favor (if not require) individuals to be in good shape. Members of S.W.A.T. teams should be in good shape, and being overweight would severely impede a S.W.A.T. team member from performing the tasks asked of him or her.
Another scenario that has become the poster child for opponents of the fat acceptance movement is the overweight person on an airplane example. Some airlines have forced larger passengers to purchase two seats because that’s the number of seats needed to hold their body. This is a legitimate form of discrimination against overweight individuals. It is unfair to ask someone to sit in a seat that is partially being taken up by a large person in the adjacent seat. On an airline, each person pays for a particular amount of space: one seat. If you need more food at a restaurant, you order more. If you need more gas in your tank, you pay for more. If you need more than one seat on an airplane, you pay for one more.
The danger of this movement is in its message to people. Telling people it is OK for them to be obese is to say it is OK to be unhealthy, and this isn’t the message people need. The message should be that people should love the person that they are but also want the healthiest lifestyle for themselves.
That healthy lifestyle is not an obese one.
Fat acceptance advocates use the term “metabolically healthy,” to describe people that are obese but just as healthy as their skinny counterparts. The problem is that nobody is obese and healthy. According to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, even though some obese people do not have heart disease, their obesity is still damaging to their overall health.
“Obese individuals who are considered ‘healthy’ because they don’t currently have heart disease risk factors should not be assumed healthy by their doctors,” said Dr. Yoosoo Chang, lead author of the study.
“Our research shows that the presence of obesity is enough to increase a person’s risk of future heart disease and that the disease may already be starting to form in their body. It’s important that these people learn this while they still have time to change their diet and exercise habits to prevent a future cardiovascular event.”
Overweight individuals deserve a fair shot at employment opportunities, and discriminatory practices to prevent them from attaining some jobs are wrong. In terms of health, it is better for a person to be fit than obese, and the fat acceptance movement is only encouraging people to remain unhealthy, which may ultimately kill the people it wants to protect.