Science, politics, obesity, and health care reform.

The state of the universe.
Oct. 29 2009 4:14 PM

Pork Spending

A critical look at obesity and health care reform.

"Let Them Drink Water: What a fat tax really means for America," posted Sept. 21, 2009. Would raising the price on sweetened beverages move the nation toward an apartheid of pleasure in which poor people must drink from the faucet while the rich enjoy superpremium fruit juice?

"Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Big Fat Asses: Does poverty make people obese, or is the other way around?" posted Sept. 28, 2009. Poor people are more likely to get fat because they have less access to healthy foods or opportunity for exercise. But sickness and discrimination can have the reverse effect—and make fat people poor. Efforts to reform health care must take both poverty and obesity into account.

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"Glutton Intolerance: What if a war on obesity only makes the problem worse?" posted on Oct. 5, 2009. Discrimination against fat people leads to lower wages, less education, and worse health care. It might even make the health effects of obesity more acute on an individual level. It's time to consider whether our focus on body size is doing more harm than good.

"The Fat Premium: Congress toys with a silly plan to make Americans lose weight,"  posted on Oct. 29, 2009. Lawmakers seem ready to adopt the Safeway Amendment in the final health care reform bill. The new law would make it easier for insurance plans to discriminate against fat people with incentive-based wellness programs. This approach to health care is ineffective, unfair, and possibly illegal.

Daniel Engber is a columnist for Slate

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