Two stories in less than a week about waistline police.
First, the Christian Science Monitor reported on the WP on January 7, 2009.
Imagine a country where the government regularly checks the waistlines of citizens over age 40. Anyone deemed too fat would be required to undergo diet counseling. Those who fail to lose sufficient weight could face further "reeducation" and their communities subject to stiff fines.
Is this some nightmarish dystopia?
No, this is contemporary Japan.
The Japanese government argues that it must regulate citizens' lifestyles because it is paying their health costs. This highlights one of the greatly underappreciated dangers of "universal healthcare." Any government that attempts to guarantee healthcare must also control its costs. The inevitable next step will be to seek to control citizens' health and their behavior. Hence, Americans should beware that if we adopt universal healthcare, we also risk creating a "nanny state on steroids" antithetical to core American principles.
So all you fatties, just remember that when soon-to-be President Obama starts his call for universal healthcare. And all you smokers and alcohol drinkers and candy-eaters had better be careful too. You may just find yourselves left out in cold without medical care too.
The second WP story takes place in the UK. The Times Online (UK) reported today about the woes of a fat couple in Leeds.
A married couple have spoken of their shock after being turned down to adopt on the grounds that one of them is too fat.
Damien and Charlotte Hall approached Leeds City Council about adoption after discovering that they were unable to have children of their own.
They were told that Mr Hall’s size, at six foot one and a weight of 24-and-a-half stone (156kg [or 343 lbs.]), made him morbidly obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 42.
In a letter, the council told them his BMI must be below 40 before the couple could be considered as potential parents because of a risk he could become ill or even die.
“The bottom line is I’m too fat. I just feel as though we were only judged on my weight and not all the other good things about us," said Mr Hall, 37, who works in a call centre.
“We don’t drink or smoke and we could give a child a happy and safe home.”
“You’ve got a child in care who’s going to get up tomorrow morning not knowing where it’s going, and we’re here ready to take a child on. They seem to be saying it’s better for them to be in care and being shoved from pillar to post just in case Damien dies.”
The council said that it would only relent if Mr Hall demonstrated that he had taken off and could keep off the weight.
Fat is now the new Smoking. Heaven help the chubby people, because more and more bureaucracies won't be helping them at all.