Screen Readers Skip to Content

Experts Discuss Whether Obesity is a Disability

Published: 2015-01-29 - Updated: 2021-09-11
Author: Obesity Care Continuum (OCC) | Contact: obesitymedicine.org/clinician-resources/advocacy/

Synopsis: Although obesity may not always be a disability by itself, it can lead to health problems that constitute disability. The more we learn about obesity, the more we understand that acquiring obesity is not a personal choice, but a disease with serious health consequences. This recognition should help form the foundation for employers to offer considerations to employees affected by health disabilities due to obesity.

Main Digest

In a joint position statement, Obesity Care Continuum (OCC) partners agree with the premise behind a recent European Court of Justice ruling supporting disability protections for obesity under certain circumstances and call for these protections to be enacted in the United States. The EU decision that sparked the development of the new position relates to a case of a child-care worker who claimed he was fired from his job because of his weight.

Related

"Although obesity may not always be a disability by itself, it can lead to health problems that constitute disability."

The Obesity Society (TOS) and its OCC partners, including the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), the Americans Society of Bariatric Physicians, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery agree in the statement.

"This recognition should help form the foundation for employers to offer considerations to employees affected by health disabilities due to obesity."

Research shows that obesity is a far more complex condition than relating to willpower or eating less and exercising more.

In most cases, obesity is chronic and challenging to treat and puts individuals at risk for more than 30 health conditions.

"The more we learn about obesity, the more we understand that acquiring obesity is not a personal choice, but a disease with serious health consequences," says Ted Kyle, RPh, TOS Advocacy Advisor and OAC Chairman speaking on behalf of the OCC. "Like many diseases, individual decisions alone are not the answer. Further, current weight-loss treatment options can help manage the condition, but do not cure it."

For next steps, the groups recommend federal and state policy measures to protect people with obesity from workplace discrimination and urge employers to recognize that while people with obesity are not inherently disabled, the disease can lead to disability.

"We appeal to employers to treat individuals with obesity with the same respect they would afford individuals with other diseases," said Kyle.

Obesity Care Continuum (OCC)

The Obesity Care Continuum (OCC) was established in 2011 and currently includes The Obesity Society, Obesity Action Coalition, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. With a combined membership of more than 125,000 healthcare professionals, researchers, educators and patient advocates, the OCC is dedicated to promoting access to, and coverage of, the continuum of care surrounding the treatment of overweight and obesity. The OCC also challenges weight bias and stigma oriented policies - whenever and wherever they occur.

Alternative Viewpoint: Obesity NOT a Disability According to Most Doctors on SERMO

Primary Information Source(s):

Experts Discuss Whether Obesity is a Disability | Obesity Care Continuum (OCC) (obesitymedicine.org/clinician-resources/advocacy/). Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

In Other News:

You're reading Disabled World. See our homepage for informative disability news, reviews, sports, stories and how-tos. You can also connect with us on social media such as Twitter and Facebook or learn more about Disabled World on our about us page.

Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World.


Cite This Page (APA): Obesity Care Continuum (OCC). (2015, January 29). Experts Discuss Whether Obesity is a Disability. Disabled World. Retrieved October 17, 2021 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/whether.php