Size Discrimination T or F

Radio MD Feb. 5, 2013

Radio MD Feb. 5, 2013

According to an interview on RadioMd.Com: Are We Guilty of Size Discrimination with Christopher Berger, PhD., the question is whether size discrimination takes place “towards [over] fat people in the workplace, education system, and healthcare system …”

Beginning in 1996, reported weight discrimination had grown 5% in 2006. According to Dr. Berger, obesity is classified as a scientific disease. However, the Health and Human Services Department in South Carolina contradicted the scientific community’s view on obesity when it reported “obesity itself cannot be considered an illness [because] the most common cause is caloric intake.”

A Rights Issue?

Listening to the interview, I found it interesting that Dr. Berger stated there is no size discrimination in the medical and healthcare community. However, there is evidence of size discrimination in the workplace, on air planes, and in health clubs. The main focus on this issue, according to the Fat Rights Movement, is whether a person should be discriminated against. Opponents of the Fat Rights Movement are saying that over fat people are causing extra money in healthcare costs, extra prescriptions, etc. Dr. Berger’s response favors my perspective when he said it really “comes down to personal respect of others to be more helpful and functional as a society.” It is a moral issue, just because a person may be over fat does not mean they should be treated disrespectfully by others.

Fit and Fat

Is it physiologically possible to be fit and fat? Dr. Berger answered “Yes.” He has seen marathons completed in under 4 hours by individuals carrying a few extra pounds and they are “clearly aerobically healthy” to be fit and over fat. The main issue is body image and the perceptions of how individuals think of themselves and their internal perceptions of how others view them. Dr. Berger explained the good side of a diet is it can give a “temporary sense of control over one’s body.” This may work short-term, giving an individual positive feelings of control over his or her environment and a sense of accomplishment.

Being overweight is a physiological issue and often it is more unhealthy to take part in a “fad” or short-term diet, rather than maintain a consistent weight. It is important for individuals to be honest and realistic with themselves when deciding whether or not to lose weight: 1) Is the weight keeping a person from maintaining their lifestyle? 2) Is the weight impeding a person from carrying out daily tasks they want to do? 3) Is a person happy with herself and personal perceptions? These core questions can only be answered by each individual and it is important, when seeking help of an athletics trainer, to be honest about health and weight loss goals.

As personal trainers, this interview asks us to have open communication with clients, to be honest, and clients must be honest with their trainer to facilitate effective communication.

Your opinion matters. Please share your thoughts with me 🙂


One thought on “Size Discrimination T or F

  1. I think you are correct–this is about respecting others. No one is perfect. If a person has an issue surrounding food, it is cruel to judge that person’s value based only on that issue. I do agree, however, that a person who does not fit into an airplane seat should have to purchase 2 seats at their own expense. If I am sitting next to that person, I expect to be able to use all of my seat myself and not share with someone who doesn’t fit into theirs.


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