Is obesity a disability?

“Obesity is a product of overeating and laziness, disabilities are almost always not the fault of the sufferer.”

We recently ran a poll with our Twitter followers, asking the question: “Is obesity a disability?” 78% said no, but the question sparked some passionate debate.

Some people were very definite in their opinion, with comments like: “Nope. You choose to be fat, you don’t choose to be disabled” or “People are fat for two reasons, they’re greedy for the wrong stuff and they’re bone idle.”

Others saw the topic as more of a grey area: “Obesity can be a by-product of being disabled, being disabled makes you less active, therefore it’s easier to put weight on.”

According to the Equality Act, someone can be classed as disabled in a discrimination case if they have a physical or mental impairment that has an adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. If you were morbidly obese and struggled to walk, fit into a chair or climb a set of stairs, you could argue that your obesity was having an adverse effect on day-to-day activities.

Some of our followers viewed obesity as an addiction, but felt that, like smoking or alcoholism, an addiction to food was the fault of the addict themselves.

Others took a more sympathetic view, acknowledging that food addiction is a psychological condition that is extremely tough to overcome.


What do you think? Let us know @brocbrainmag using #obesitydisability

We’re going to be covering this topic in more detail in the next print edition of Broccoli & Brains magazine. If you’re not a subscriber yet, sign up here.