Is obesity a disability?

The BBC today reports on the case of Karsten Kaltoft who weighs about 160kg (25 stone; 350 pounds) – a Danish childminder who says he was sacked for being too fat.

So now, the EU’s top court is considering a test case which could oblige employers to treat obesity as a disability.

As a disabled person who has managed to lose four stone and is reaping the benefits – the reduction in pain, the improved mobility, the improved level of fitness I find this a difficult case to have a particular view on.

But I know from the Forums on the website I use to assist me in my journey ( I know that for many, over eating is often to combat depression, anxiety and a number of other psychological conditions.

I am blessed with huge amounts of determination, as are both of my sisters.  So it is in my genes rather than being a “disabled” thing.

There is so much support for those people who want to stop smoking – smoking cessation programmes, medication, etc. 

We are seeing a huge increase in the number of clinically obese individuals.  In fact in May 2014, the BBC reported that international groups Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation are calling for the food industry to be regulated like the tobacco industry as obesity poses a greater global health risk than cigarettes.  This include things like pictures on food packaging of damage caused by obesity, similar to those on cigarette packets.

The National Obesity Forum believes there is a “serious risk” the current projection – that half of adults will be obese by 2050 – could be exceeded.

Something has to be done about the obesity crisis, but I’m not so sure that encouraging people to view being overweight as a “disability” is going to help those affected by obesity.

Chart showing rise in obesity and morbid obesity among adults

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