Mississippi Legislature Introduces Bill that Would Ban Restaurants from Serving the Obese

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.

Comments

This is a joke, right? There would be no way to enforce this. It is funny really. Um, and by the way, there are plenty of ways to eat healthy at a restaurant.

Leave it to the South to find a new way to segregate people. Nice going. Only the fit (ie the Beautiful People) are to be seen in public places like restaurants.

Ick. Grow up Mississippi. Stupid law. Poor waiters and waitresses having to weigh and measure the height of people before you can take their order.

Surprised they are not trying to pass a law that makes it illegal to serve people if they believe in Evolution.

I truly love how fat people get offended by this type of thing. It's never healthy nor wise to be overweight and just because people use the term "Fat" doesn't mean you have to take it negatively.

NO ONE wants to see fat people, it's just the way it is. It's disgusting and unnecessary and truly it is just another exhibit of how truly slovenly we, as Americans, have become.

Don't like it? Don't eat out, hell you shouldn't be anyway. This will not only help them lose weight but help them save money.....WIN WIN!

I can't even believe that someone could be so superficial and egotistical. The people that you think are "disgusting and unnecessary" are regular people. Indeed you are the disgusting one. Its people like you who make this country an uncomfortable place to live. The truth is not that NO ONE wants to see fat people, but that NO ONE wants to live among people who think they're better than others merely based off of the fact that they weigh less. Humanity should not divide themselves becauase of weight, gender, sexuality, race or income. I think you are a sick person. There are always going to be overweight people that you are going to have to "SEE". Don't like? Tough luck buddy. And for your information, it wouldnt help people loose weight. If someone wants to eat, they'll get food one way or another. Ever heard of a grocery store?

LOOSE =/= LOSE.

I'm fine with everything else you say.

Its not about being fat, its about government control.
Dont be a dumbass your whole life.

Seriously? The word "fat" is not offensive? Please.
I am a healthy, thin person. I feed my family healthy. I also have a friend and a relative who have HEALTH CONDITIONS and one friend on MEDICATION that makes them overweight.

They eat healthy. Soooo, even this being the case, Mississippi is allowed to refuse them service???

You are a cold, ignorant, prejudice, rude, arrogrant person.

And overweight people (let alone obese people!) tend to have very low self-esteem and high rates of depression. THIS will help them? Or is it the hope of ignorant fools such as yourself that these people will kill themselves off because of the whirlwind of hate that will follow this bill?

Increasing depression and lowering already low self-esteem will only make people eat MORE, not less. How about kindness, acceptance and patience? Maybe THAT would make obese people feel better about themselves INSIDE so that those that CAN lose the weight (leaving the medical conditions/medications causing weight gain alone!) will WANT to lose the weight to "improve" their outsides, making haters like you happie? After all, it's all about you, isn't it?

Stopping obesity starts from the inside out. HATE and IGNORANCE will not help the obesity rate.

Don't blame this on real southerners... it is doubtful that citizens south of the Mason-Dixon Line give a whit about dietary habits. Blame the encroachment of carpetbagging, big-government liberals who believe that Americans are too stupid to function without help from their political masters.

The man who proposed this law has said he just wanted to bring more attention to the issue.

Apparently it's not a joke, obesity is not a joke an one of three people being obese in this state is a real drama. I don't know if this is the best thing to do but some healthy eating program need to be promoted, maybe even some HCG dieting programs.

I think this is crazy... If a person wants to eat let them eat. There are too many other problems in this world than controlling fat people. I think it's discrimination not to serve someone who is overwieght. Get a life!!!!!!

I live in Mississippi! I personally have lost 40 lbs on my own,and do not eat at restaurant but possible once a month.So basically if my Husband wanted to take me out to dinner for my B-day or our wedding anniversary,we would be screwed. I am 60 lbs over weight and even though I understand the idea of this helping in some ways. It is discrimination and it shouldn't be allowed to happen.People need to make a choice for their own lives.

As I headed off to work this morning (salad, low fat cottage cheese, grapes and a diet coke in hand) I had the unfortunate experience to hearing of Mississippi's proposed law on The Morning Show (CBS). I could hardly believe my ears. When I got to work I took a few minutes to research the issue on line. Sure enough, there it was. My stomach turned. I kept thinking "This can't be happeneing in the U.S." Isn't this the kind of mentality espoused by the Nazi Party during the 30's and 40's. Is it not alo the mentality of those who denied African American's of their rights for so many, many years? America...land of the free and home of the brave...except

How dare the Mississippi Legislature or any other body relegate who and where it's citizens can and cannot eat? Pardon my saying so, but this is very ass-backward thinking. Food, like any other substance can be powerfully addictive. Obese individuals do not cost this government any more than the gamblers, sex addicts, drug addicts, anorexics, bulemics, alcoholics et al. If the same amount of attention and medical interevention were used for obese individuals as bulemic and anorexics (hospitalization, education, counseling, reintergration, and follow-up) then perhaps we could boast that we are a country whose people have equal access. What about environment and genetics.

The truth of the matter is that people who have weight issues have been discriminated against for all time. It wasn't until 1955 that full-figured women could buy commercially made clothing. Cookie-cutter mentality is so unbecoming in this day and age. Will I have to carry a special ID? Will we open green-front diners? Will I have to stop being who I am because Mississippi doesn't like how I look? This isn't a health issue. It is a prejudice issue. Get your heads on striaght people and pray that you aren't among the next to be singled out.

How embarrassing for us in Mississippi. To have legislators with nothing better to do during their workday except write ridiculous crap that has no way of becoming law. Are these legislators so non-creative that this is the best they can do???? Wake up fellow Mississippians - these clowns are wasting our money and our time. Educate the CHILDREN!!!!! This is the ONLY way to change the future of the health of ANY generation.

I hope everyone here is so outraged by this piece of garbage that they speak up ensure we are not saddled with these people as leaders next time around.

I understand we have a problem and this is a valid issue that needs to be addressed but please let us all be somewhat more realistic and productive in our actions.

If I presented something this ignorant to my boss I would be FIRED.

Do they really believe that this is going to stop people from eating???? Are they going to ban To Go orders, too? I suppose those people can't have a "thin" person go and pick up their food for them. But, you know what? On second thought, I would not be interested in ever going to those restaurants again.

Why don't we start with more education in the schools and better health care for children?

I think this is discrimination and I am apalled that this was ever brought to light. Shame on you, Mississippi. Start from the source. I guarantee if one of these restaurants refused to serve your spouse or one of your parents, you would think that was ok, right?

You know, we ALL should have seen this coming. With as villified as smoking has been over the last several years to the point now where "outdoor smoking" is being considered banned in many places, and it's already illegal in BARS...here in Maine, we all should have seen this coming. Legislation of Nanny laws like this one are becoming increasingly abundant in our society.

While I can see the argument made by the legistlative branches, last time I checked, I don't remember their role encompassing what we can or cannot do with our own bodies as that is the last vestage of free domain we actually have. But these laws, along with smoking laws, go as far as to prohibit specific acts.

Yes, I know smoking is bad for me...but I do it anyway, in part because I enjoy it. Yes, it increases my risk for certain types of disease. But then so does the entire granite ledge we live on up here in the Northeast due to radon emmisions...what's next? "Thou shalt not live on a granite shelf". I don't remember these same legislators being particularly concerned when they were spinning up nuclear power plants. I don't remember them being particularly concerned about major pollution causing corporations. But somewhere along the way, they've become concerned with what you eat and what I smoke.

Yes, I know this is about eating before someone says something...but I'm speaking to this problem in a larger scale, a scale that would cause these same politicians to believe it is within their right and duty to reach into our personal lives and say what we can and cannot do with our bodies, what we can eat, what we can drink, what we can say, do, where we go, etc.

Theirs is to govern law - that would mean that theirs is to protect us from forces OUTSIDE of our control that would harm us. Whether we want to do harm to ourselves, and even the question of whether we are or aren't in the face of all the other stimulie around us that lends itself to disease, influences that are FAR outside of our control, this isn't far and above anything that a legislator should be concerning themselves with.

This law, like that of smoking bans that have been going in affect throughout the country and indeed the world are just more examples of government intervention in life that should otherwise be ours to live.

I've found that people who try to force behaviour on others, such the nincompoop(s) who wrote this bill have a hidden (from themselves) motive. It is simply this: They are so incompetent at running their own lives well that they need to build their self esteem by running (or is that ruining) the lives of others.

This never works; look what Prohibition did to the United States. It gave us organized crime. It did not change the behaviour of people, except those who, like me, dislike their definitely not well-meaning interference and purposely do exactly what the insecure controllers try to prevent.

When is the stupidity of trying to legislate "morality" going to end?

I am curious about the industry reaction to this ... if I owned a restaurant, I sure would not want to ban 1/3 of the potential customers. For sure that would hurt business.

how about if you are Skinny food should be free, With 2 desserts

Agreed! Yum.

I think the worst part about this article (especially with the picture of the "Do NOT Feed the Fat People!" sign) is that it could make some overweight people who look at it feel like they really do need to become anorexic to be accepted.
That's what I thought when I saw it.

I think this says ALOT more about the kind of food these restuarants must be serving.

What if they wanted a change from sitting at home feeding their faces with chips & softdrink and have come for a healthy alternative ?

You should be helping/supporting these people - not reducing their options.

me and a friend used to laugh at the fat chicks who would come in to the pizza shop we worked in and order 2 family size pizzas with the lot and 2 bottles of diet coke - hmmmmmmmm

[quote]I think the worst part about this article (especially with the picture of the "Do NOT Feed the Fat People!" sign) is that it could make some overweight people who look at it feel like they really do need to become anorexic to be accepted.
That's what I thought when I saw it.[/quote]

what a pile of poop

they just have to hover below the tonne mark

people making these crap excuses for them is what encourages them

you have a third of the population is morbidly obese and at risk of every type of fat related early exit from this life there is

without playing down the bulimia/ anorexia thing - how many people in the state suffer from that? the other 2/3rds? i think not

chicks in womens magazines arent healthy - and arent what most men want

but that doesnt mean we have to go the other way - there is a heathy middle ground out there people

How would it help fat people from losing weight?
If someone can't go to a restaurant they will just go to another place for food.

If someone wants to eat you should just let them.

Do these idiots realize that many people are obese because of medical conditions and/or medications that they have to take? I can't believe these men would even be allowed to introduce such an assinine bill as this! I hope the residents of Mississippi will remember them at election time!

I think what they are doing is great. It is about time the obese were publicly helped. So what if it causes low self esteem or embarrassment, they should feel that cause they are fat and most likely have or will have health problems because of it. This will help motavate them to stop over eating.

You, my fellow American, are the only one who should be embarrassed or ashamed. You are the one who has the problem. You seem to suffer from some thinking errors.

Have you people ever heard of the US constiution???

Further more... what happened to the "my body, my choice argument"??? I'm sure these are the same morons who use that line (when it works for them).

Quite frankly, i would much rather see them put an end to smoking... which not only takes THAT persons life, but effects everyone around them who dont get a CHOICE of not to breath it. Not to mention my tax dollars that pay for their medical care!

YOU CANT SPELL AND YOUR IGNORANT!!!!!!!! have you ever thought that low self esteem affects us negatively???? its called binge eating fool and instead of forcing fat people into seclusion we should try to help them by lowering healthy food costs and changing our fast food menus, after all all that disgusting crappy ass food from mcdonalds or bk is poison anyways we would doing a great service to ALL americans, and how dare you say that prejudice will help motivate, thats like telling an anorexic they are disgusting and to eat already it always has a negative effect. and what about those that are trying to lose weight not all of us became obese because we were lazy. you do not become obese by just being lazy, i delt with abuse as a child and turned to food for comfort until it became a severe eating disorder that led to drug addiction and now im just taking it day by day but its people like you that make me feel like its pointless to try to fit in to a society that doesnt give a damn about me unless im thin enough im getting close to not being able to take it any more im sick of this society and im sick of evil apathetic people

You mean 'you're' not 'your.'

How embarrassing for you.

I'm pretty sure they don't expect this bill to be passed but are using it as a starting point for a discussion about what can be done about the problem.
Problem is, most overweight people don't care about the problem or don't see it as a problem.

Fat people die sooner costing less to the country. Do you civic duty and get fat and die young. I am proud to be an American

This is a very funny bit of proposed legislature. I almost fell out of my chair.

From the illustration, it seems that more than one in four are considered obese. My D.O. told me I was in good condition but poor "tone". Bad for me, I suppose, but he also runs five miles per day. Good for him. Heck, I'm soon 46 and could barely walk seven years ago. Better now and 50 pounds lighter, too. I DID change my diet. And got a divorce. And was named in a $7M lawsuit. And lost my job! Did I mention I changed my diet??

"OMG", good for you - keep going.

Personally, I wouldn't mind being screwed on my birthday or anniversary... ... ...

It is all personal choice. You can't legislate this sort of thing. You can't.

Mark, in Phoenix 6'3"/195...

I'm fat and I love fried chicken and cheeseburgers. I'll be god damned if Popeyes and McDonald's would even try to ban me.

While I don't condone this completely, I'm not sure what to think. Offer the obese salads instead?

I live close to the MS line and have eaten there often. Yes, I am overweight. No, I don't want to be, but it is hard to lose and my will power is weak. Can you legally discriminate against me; help me if you want, but wouldn't your time and effort be better spent baning restaurants from serving oversized portions to anyone (SO THAT THE SKINNY PEOPLE DON'T BECOME OBESE), (OH MY, WHAT THEM). Please get real! Education and stopping it where it starts, usually at home, or with health or emotional issues, would be my suggestion......POWER OF SUGGESTION GOES A LONG WAY!

I just finished reading an article in the Cleveland reader that states; there is a bill being proposed in Mississippi that would ban a restaurant from serving a person who is considered to be obese (a BMI or 30 or more). Being a Minnesota resident, and not being allowed to have a cigarette in my local drinking establishment, I am beginning to wonder what is going to be legislated next? I propose a bill that would ban legislators from proposing legislation that infringes on MY rights as an United States citizen. Back in the early 70’s, my older brother was sent home from school for wearing a T-shirt that had religious connotations on it. I think it was that time period when all these anti-Christian, tree hugging, neo-Nazi, extreme liberal idiots got the idea that their rights were more important than my rights. They feel that they have the right to go into a public place; i.e. a bar, and “breathe clean air”. Well what about my rights? In the early 70’s, they thought they had the right to not have to go to school and see a religious saying on a t-shirt, well what about my right TO see that? Why are the left-wing’s rights always coming first? Isn’t it about time that we took America back from the libs and turned it back into the free country that our FOREFATHER’S (not fore mothers) intended it to be?

Yeah - never make the mistake of taking our foremothers into consideration. They were just stupid women. DA MENZ are all smart, like the genius above.

Liberal, feminist places like Mississippi sure do come up with stupid ideas for laws. Obviously it's those socialists who are pushing the nanny state!

Wow! Mississippi has a really great track record when it comes to civil liberites. First, they denied African-Americans the right to eat in a restaurant with white folks. They wouldn't let them sit in the same part of the bus as white people. Basically, they were treated as sub-human. That was all done away (supposedly) with many years ago. Fast forward to 2008 and now Mississippi is discriminating against fat people. Makes me proud!

I would like to know when being fat became equated with being unhealthy. I know many thin people who have heart disease, diabetes, cancer, strokes, bad knees, bad backs, etc. etc. etc. Meanwhile, I am so healthy it is sickening! I don't even get a cold! I have a regular check up every year. I walk on a regular basis and like my large grandparents I expect to live a very long life. They died in their 90's as did my father. For someone to try to dictate where I can and can't eat or how healthy I am based solely on my weight to height ratio is just plain ignorant.

It is no wonder our country is having so many problems. Instead of trying to finance health care so that everyone can have a yearly physical, our politicians are coming up with crap like this law. If everyone knew exactly where their health problems were from actual testing instead of stupid generalizations perhaps we would be a healthier nation over all. But with dieting being a multi-billion dollar industry I don't see any sanity coming any time soon.

And to the people who think this is no different than banning smoking, smoking isn't banned in an attempt to make you quit. It is banned so that I, a non-smoker, do not have to breath your carbons into my system. Second-hand smoke can only be controlled by not allowing it in public places. What you want to do in the privacy of your home or car is fine with me, but to subject me to something I can't control simply for your own pleasure is just plain rude. When I eat, I don't make you eat too. So don't try to make me smoke when you smoke!

Look, this law is incredibly stupid. People should be allowed to eat what they want, no matter who they are.

That said, being obese is NOT OK AT ALL, at least if you're not at all trying to help yourself or the people around you. This "fat empowerment" movement I've been seeing lately is horrible and damaging to the people it targets. There's people telling the obese to proclaim "I'm proud to be fat" and telling them not to give in to "thin society". Did these people not get the memo that obesity is unbelievably unhealthy?

This problem should be solved by rigorous education at an early age. Limiting the food freedoms of adults shouldn't happen, but how about creating healthier food menus for public school lunches? That, along with continuous and mandatory nutrition education starting in kindergarten or 1st grade, would provide a solution for the next generation. Most adults are too firm in their beliefs and won't change as easily, so screw them anyway.

Ok......so let's asume that whoever want's to pass a bill like this is really trying to HELP the obese people.....in which case why don't you think about offereing free YMCA membership to all obese people? .. that might do the trick. ;)

Anyone who's ever taken a health education course knows that even extremely obese people need to replenish some nutrients. A blanket ban on serving them any food whatsoever will lead to vitamin deficiencies. Not just government intrusion but STUPID government intrusion. Are they trying to kill people?

It seems a little counterintuitive to fight obesity by closing restaurants to the fat folk. If they lose that one form of motivation to leave the house, food, then why the heck are they going to do anything but stay in their homes and gorge on cheetos and gallon tubs of ice cream? Fat people need the right to go to restaurants so they can at least get some exercise walking to their cars.

That is so-so stupid!!! obese people MUST eat, in other case they will die. Or may be the State Department of Health wants to make them starve and die? That is descrimanion!!!! in some cases obesety can be coursed by illness, so what ? these ill people should starve??? or what??? In stead of forbidding people to eat - it would be much more better to forbid the existence of all the fast -food restaurants at all!!! All of them should be closed!!!! Even if some people don`t gain weight after some hot-dogs, they spoil their health for sure!!!

They can eat at home.
Unless the only place you're capable of eating is at restaurants. which is sad.

Fatties SUCK, they should all be herded together and killed so that their fat can be burned for fuel

YOUR A DEUSH BAG GO KILL YOUR SELF IDIOT AND STOP POINTING THE FINGERS AT OTHERS IF YOU DONT LIKE US "FATTYS" THEN STFU AND CLIMB INTO A WHOLE YOU TWIT BECAUSE I WOULD MUCH RATHER BURN A BRAINLESS IDIOT LIKE YOU FOR FUEL THAN A "FATTY" WITH SOMETHING TO OFFER THIS WORLD YOUR A WASTE OF AIR SO DO US A FAVOR AND PUT THE BAG OVER YOUR HEAD AND.............................BREATH IN BITCH

The word is 'douche.'

All they have to do is make the doors smaller.

But anyway, I don't think they should stop serving fat people all together. They can get their food at other sources. I think a regulation on the amount of unhealthy food served (ie: fried, processed, sweetened) should be implemented for EVERYONE. These things aren't good for you, but the reason most people get, and stay overweight is because of bad food choices. Not just because they go out to eat. (There is the salad bar, and the all-you-can-eat chinese joint. Which place do you think people are more likely to go?)

There should be a greater emphasis on keeping children from getting obese(Like stop caring about fucking tests so much, and getting them back in Physical education for Christ's sake). It's sickening to see kids who should be running around with friends, instead sitting around TV sets and waddling behind mothers begging for more food.

Don't say we should be 'kind' to the children or some bullshit. It's for their own health. (I was a fat preteen. My mother didn't want to help me lose weight, and it took a serious illness to get me to stop eating long enough to lose weight.) We MUST regulate their food intake. Then at 18, when they're legally adults they can go out and do whatever makes them happy. Like heart disease, liver failure, fatigue, diabetes and other health risks associated with being obese.