“Richardson: Obese Americans Need Federal Protection”

“Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson called Wednesday for obese Americans to be brought under the protection of the Americans for Disabilities Act. ‘This is an issue of basic civil rights,’ said Richardson. ‘There are no federal laws that protect obese Americans from discrimination in the workplace, school, or anywhere else. This must change.'” (ABCNews.com “Political Radar”, Sept. 19). We’ve covered obesity-discrimination claims in such contexts as housing accommodation, the hiring of aerobics instructors, amusement park ride seating, airline seat widths (here, here, and here), and the rights of out-of-shape loading-dock workers. P.S. Forgot to add skinny fashion models.


  • I wonder how this would affect the military?

  • As a physician, I am often amazed at the number of patients that I see that are on federal disability for one reason or another. Most of the time, these patients drive themselves to the office. Right now the main disabilty that I see are people who are diabled because of their obesity. It always seems ironic that these people get handicapped parking stickers when they are the ones that really need to walk an exercise more. Now to have a politician want to encourage gluttony in the form of forcing businesses and government facilities to enable their actions does not make sense. Then again, with more obese people, this may be a large voting block.

  • As a civil defense attorney, I am (no longer) amazed at the number of people who, as with throckmorton’s observation, have pending workers’ compensation claims or personal injury suits that are in one or another traceable to being overweight. An early lesson you learn is the “eggshell plaintiff” rule, which means that you can’t defend a case on grounds that the reason a person tripped and fell with such force is that they are obese. In other instances, diabetes, slow-healing injuries, lack of exercise, and generally poor health serve to magnify the liability costs of things that would in a healthy person not make a dent. So, Richardson is wrong that there isn’t “protection” for fat people – they are well protected by these systems, and the rest of us pay for it.

  • Throckmorton:
    “… this may be a large voting block.” Yes, large indeed.

    Is this to what your moniker refers? A widely known medical inside joke.

  • Nevins;

    Thank you for catching my poor attempt at humor on top of my poor spelling and grammar.

    You are correct on the moniker. I can’t believe how many times it really is true!

  • What about stupid people? At least fat people have the option of losing weight. Stupid people (not with an actual medical condition… just, you know, stupid) will always be stupid and theretofore, need extra protection.