With nearly one-third of the population of Mississippi now classified as "obese", the state is understandably concerned about encouraging its residents to start shedding some pounds. A group of legislators in Mississippi have introduced a new bill that takes aim at solving this issue - HB 282, which would make it illegal for restaurants to serve fat people.
According to HB 282, the health department could revoke the health dept. license of any restaurant, fast-food or otherwise, if it is caught serving food to anyone who meets the department's criteria of being "obese."
The specifically states:
"Any food establishment to which this section applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health after consultation with the Mississippi Council on Obesity Prevention and Management established under Section 41-101-1 or its successor."
The bill would also require the State Department of Health to distribute materials to dining establishments that would define what an obese person is. The US Government defines an obese person as someone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above, although it is not yet clear whether Mississippi would use that as their template for what defines "obese".
Mississippi has long found itself topping lists of the country's fattest states, and has one of the highest death rates from cardiovascular disease, of which obesity is a risk factor. But will making it illegal to serve food to those who are obese truly combat the state's weight problem?
Hungry people will eat, and if a restaurant won't serve them, there's always the grocery store. Should we expect another similar bill soon outlining what the obese are permitted to purchase at grocery stores as well?
Find out more information about HB 282 here.