Saturday, February 2, 2008

Big Brother to Hit Mississippi Big Eaters

Mississippi legislators want to make it illegal for restaurants to serve obese customers. The bill, HB282, says it is:
An act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the state department of health; to direct the department to prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese and to provide those materials to the food establishments; to direct the department to monitor the food establishments for compliance with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes.
The bill was introduced in the 2008 Mississippi legislative session on Friday by Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr. It should be noted that federal health data shows that 2/3 of Mississippi's residents are overweight or obese.

At the same time, the Obesity Action Coalition issued a press release calling for the bill's withdrawal.
"HB 282 is the most blatant form of obesity discrimination. This bill completely perpetuates the negative stigma often associated with obesity. The thought of food establishments holding the power to first, determine the health status of a patron and second, having the ability to refuse service based on the determination of whether or not the patron is 'obese,' is completely outrageous. The OAC is seeking immediate withdrawal of HB 282," said Joseph Nadglowski, Jr., OAC President and CEO.
The bill would allow health inspectors to yank the permit from restaurants that "repeatedly" feeds extremely overweight customers. Chances of passage: likely none.

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