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For the Greater Good?

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 12:08 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Prison BarsWithout law and some level of prohibition, it is theorized that we would have mayhem; the streets would be plagued with flagrant ruffians, terrorizing the upstanding innocents. For that reason, we punish criminals, sending them to jail, fining them and assigning community service. We attempt to maintain an environment that is safe, structured and best for all citizens. And for the most part, it works. The desire to steal, cheat and harm is squelched by the consequences.

Could the same tactics work for health?

Some think that it could. They are advocating changes that would punish the obese for being obese. They want to increase the price of airline tickets for the fat, charging them for extra flab as they would for extra baggage.  And they want to bar the obese from fertility treatments, denying medical help until the patients have reached an acceptable BMI.  Health experts believe that both measures would ultimately lead to a weight decline. The obesity problem would be highlighted, and individuals would be moved to move. They would, after all, have been hit where it hurts the most: the wallet and the womb. But are these steps too extreme?

It’s certainly possible. Both sound a bit like discrimination. They address people with a health problem who need help, but rather than offering aid, these policies cause more problems. They prevent individuals from living their lives, making them feel like less of a person because they are more. Why would anyone be motivated to change their life for the better when their self-esteem has been destroyed? How could they?

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