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obesity as a disability is very damaging for the truely disabled

(147 Posts)
twoopsie Fri 19-Dec-14 09:13:11

So now the EU says that obisity can be treated as a disability.

Sets a worrying precedence. Does anyone remember that episode of the Simpsons.

Before people start flaming me with genuine medical reasons for obesity, these are a very small minority but obviously do exist and the obesity is a side affect, not the aliment.

ApocalypseNowt Fri 19-Dec-14 09:18:57

Being obese (morbidly so) will get to a point where the person is disabled though. I'd feel uncomfortable with a system that distinguished between 'no fault' and 'fault' disability.

MehsMum Fri 19-Dec-14 09:28:54

I think I agree with you, OP.
Obesity seems to be, effectively, a food addiction. It makes sense to treat that issue. But to accept that it's something permanent that the affected person can do nothing to ameliorate moves it to a different level, which I don't think is justified.

ApocalypseNowt Fri 19-Dec-14 09:37:52

Surely treating it as a disability doesn't mean it is permanent though?

I agree the causes of obesity need to be treated though - I can't imagine there are many people who simply end up that way through pure greed alone. The cause is far more likely to be food addiction or a symptom of some other mental health problem. Looking at it like that though means we should treat it as a disability.

UsedtobeFeckless Fri 19-Dec-14 09:42:37

I agree - with plenty of help and support most obese people can lose weight. Treating it as a disability is unfair to people with an actual disability!

That said though, I think there should be more help and advice for those struggling with their weight.

GingerbreadPudding Fri 19-Dec-14 09:44:09

I completely agree. And I think it would start something dangerous. For example, I have two candidates for a job, there's nothing between them apart from one is overweight. I'd give it to the slimmer candidate in case the other got so overweight they were classed as disabled and I got sued for sacking them for not being able to do their job because they can't get about.

MaidOfStars Fri 19-Dec-14 09:51:39

The report doesn't say obesity in itself should be considered a disability. It says that we should recognise that disability can arise from obesity, and that such disabilities should be dealt with under disability legislation/practice.

Agree with PP re: 'fault' and 'no fault' disability. Why would we distinguish?

MaidOfStars Fri 19-Dec-14 09:54:08

I'd give it to the slimmer candidate in case the other got so overweight they were classed as disabled

And you'd find yourself in hot water if you ever openly declared this.

ChickenMe Fri 19-Dec-14 09:58:41

Obesity can make you disabled, what ever the cause. Where there's no underlying medical reason, just poor lifestyle choices, it's a difficult one because the feeling is that it's self inflicted, which it may be.

However, if someone has become so obese they can't function you can't just leave them to rot, even if it is "their own fault". I think what they are saying it's not for us to say why they are obese or to decide if it's their fault.

People's relationship with food is often complicated and issues are formed in childhood; it's not as simple as eat less. Once you're obese your stomach expects more food, for instance, and the person is unsatisfied. My relative is obese. He looks so unhappy I say "there but for the grace of God".

TipseyTorvey Fri 19-Dec-14 10:00:19

I thoroughly agree with PP that obese people need more support to help them with their issues however I really think making it a disability on a par with someone who for e.g has lost a limb in an accident is a bit too far for me. Obesity can be helped - I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying so but I don't see it as a disability, more of an addiction. Would an alcoholic get the same cover at work I wonder, would an employee have to provide taxis as the employee was too drunk to drive or be accused of discriminating? Not sure that's the best example but I'm trying to think of how far this could go....

PausingFlatly Fri 19-Dec-14 10:02:44

What a weird thread.

By these criteria, a person with serious injuries after a car crash would be considered not disabled.

Because the crash was their own fault for speeding, and after 5 years' working very hard at rehabilitation they may be able to walk, and dress, and feed themselves again.

janesaysl Fri 19-Dec-14 10:06:12

Where you would you draw the line on 'self inflicted' disabilities, what about people who are disabled due to smoking.

eatyouwithaspoon Fri 19-Dec-14 10:08:12

How judgemental all other addictions are treated the same yet food adicition isnt. Its not like you can stop eating is it? No one wants to be morbidly obese do they and this can and does cause other issues with health and mobility hense the name. Good to know that some people wouldnt give a fat person a job. Nice.

MaidOfStars Fri 19-Dec-14 10:09:11

You don't draw a line. Someone is either disabled or not. Why they are disabled is neither here nor there.

OTheHugeManatee Fri 19-Dec-14 10:11:49

This thread will not end well.

brererabbit Fri 19-Dec-14 10:15:02

I find it really hard to take in. I have a condition that fluctuates. I have periods of about 6-18 months where I'm what I would class as disabled, needing crutches to walk around or not being able to move at all (should probably be in a wheelchair in this time), very painful but it's not the pain that limits movement it's spinal cord damage. So far every time it's been like this with either surgery or an awful lot of rest and physio I can in time get back to a level of normal functioning eg some days I can run a few metres after dc if I needed to. Could lift them out of the car ect but very very very difficult and painful. I would find a bb would make a massive difference to my life half of the time but can't get one because sometimes I'm not so bad, but if I got really fat it would be recognised. I'd consider myself a lot more disabled than an obese person yet it's just not recognised.

notthatshesaid Fri 19-Dec-14 10:16:54

I don't think morbid obesity can be helped, not in many cases. It's often food addiction. It is correlated with diabetes, terrible skin sores, joint pains. It is very disabling and if there was an easy 'cure' people wouldn't be that big. It is on a par with a nicotine addictionr alcoholism; very, very difficult to manage, distressing and expensive.

Lots of people with disabilities aren't in a clear cut position of disabled/not disabled either. Often maintaining a good diet, taking pills as directed, exercising can significantly help symptoms. I'm not saying in every case, it's just people imagine disability = limb amputation or an accident which severs a spinal cord when it isn't that clear cut. There are people with cf who smoke, people who have car accidents because of reckless behaviour, etc.etc. There certainly isn't fault/ no fault disability.

I say all this as a woman with a disability who used to be 7 stones overweight. The obesity was a result of a hideous, distressing food addiction which after a lot of therapy is under control (i'm now a size 12 and have been for ages now) My disability is in some ways affected by managing my weight, getting adequate rest, keeping stress levels down, remembering to take certain medications and keeping a level of core strength. I fail at those sometimes and suffer quite a lot, then get things back under control and improve.

I have enormous sympathy for anyonewho is morbidly obese. It's hell, and you don't even get the understanding someone with a different disability might expect. Obesity still = greedy and lazy and smelly and inadequate in many peoples' eyes.

TheListingAttic Fri 19-Dec-14 10:21:54

Surely the issue is reversibility, rather than 'fault'? You can't undo, say, cerebral palsy or paralysis - there's nothing that person or anyone else can do to change their physical abilities, so they should be supported as far as is reasonably possible to enable them to manage in the workplace - and in public buildings and their own homes.

Being overweight IS something that can be addressed. Hang on, don't go nuts yet - I'm not suggest the fatties 'just' need to stop eating, or that someone who is debilitatingly obese is just a bit too keen on chips and not keen enough on jogging. Anyone with a gram of sense is aware that there are a range of social and psychological factors underlying obesity. But with the correct help and support, it IS something that can be addressed. Like, say, alcoholism. That's not a disability, although it may have disabling consequences. It requires the right help and support, as well as work from the person suffering from it (not just 'willpower' but a willingness to address the underlying problem, and to engage with a programme of treatment). But it can be tackled, and the problem overcome. Unlike an actual disability.

That's my current position, and nothing I've yet read has convinced me otherwise, but I'm happy to be reasoned with!

Greysanderson Fri 19-Dec-14 10:25:25

Obesity to me is caused by addiction the only 'cure' is willpower it is entirely reversible.

Whilst there those with genetic/hormone factors and medications which worsen the problem it is never impossible to lose weight only difficult.

PausingFlatly Fri 19-Dec-14 10:26:48

Are you going to point to someone with a "reversible" injury, and take it upon yourself to decide that they could have been walking again if they'd done more physiotherapy (cos your mother's cat's hairdresser recovered from a car accident, so everyone can), therefore they are not disabled?

Wheelchair and all?

hazeyjane Fri 19-Dec-14 10:27:14

It says that we should recognise that disability can arise from obesity, and that such disabilities should be dealt with under disability legislation/practice.


What is truly damaging is the belief that there is a black and white deserving disabled/undeserving disabled.

OfaFrenchMind Fri 19-Dec-14 10:30:06

YANBU. A line needs to be drawn, and responsibilities need to be accepted. I refuse to consider in he future that I may have to hire an obese person under the disability act. That is a mockery of what this act is supposed to be.

TheListingAttic Fri 19-Dec-14 10:30:50

Are you going to point to someone with a "reversible" injury, and take it upon yourself to decide that they could have been walking again if they'd done more physiotherapy (cos your mother's cat's hairdresser recovered from a car accident, so everyone can), therefore they are not disabled?

Erm, no? hmm

WhyTheFace Fri 19-Dec-14 10:35:13

I think, that when someone gets to the point of being morbidly obese that there is clearly lots of stuff going on for that person - it is a MH issue AFAIC.

I think it's probably a good thing that employers will no longer be legally allowed to discriminate against the obese, but I don't see it making a huge difference in reality

SamCroClaus Fri 19-Dec-14 10:37:48

got to lol at these threads.
people seems to think that disability = protected
have you not seen the vileness on the bus threads.
why anyone would want be classed as disabled is beyond me.

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