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February 2nd, 2008


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04:12 am - Welcome to the Nanny State
A bill has been introduced in the Mississipi legislature that would ban obese people from dining in restaurants. It is House Bill 282, sponsored by Representatives W.T. Mayhall, Jr., Bobby Shows and John Read and effective July 1, 2008.

Here is the text:


HOUSE BILL NO. 282


An act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the state department of health; to direct the department to prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese and to provide those materials to the food establishments; to direct the department to monitor the food establishments for compliance with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes. Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi:

SECTION 1.

(1) The provisions of this section shall apply to any food establishment that is required to obtain a permit from the State Department of Health under Section 41-3-15(4)(f), that operates primarily in an enclosed facility and that has five (5) or more seats for customers.

(2) 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 State Department of Health shall prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese, and shall provide those materials to all food establishments to which this section applies. A food establishment shall be entitled to rely on the criteria for obesity in those written materials when determining whether or not it is allowed to serve food to any person.

(3) The State Department of Health shall monitor the food establishments to which this section applies for compliance with the provisions of this section, and may revoke the permit of any food establishment that repeatedly violates the provisions of this section.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2008.



Under the state criteria for obesity, those with a BMI of 30 or over would be prevented from eating in public at any restaurant within Mississippi. Apparently the owners of restuarants would be required to keep records of people's BMIs as well.

This is not a bill created in jest, but in earnest. (Sources for info here and here.)

This is just so wrong on so many levels -- I can't even begin to describe how I feel about the creeping nanny-state and Big-Brother-ism of this and what it says about the state of our culture right now, that something like this could even be proposed.

~~ shudders ~~

This is just the latest symptom of what I consider to be legislation to enforce societal prejudices against "safe" minorities, such as the overweight and those who choose not to conform to the mainstream. Only in the case of Mississippi, the mainstream is the one that will be affected should this bill pass into law, given that it has among the highest (if not THE highest) percentage of overweight and obese people in the country.

Legislating "morality" like this is abhorrent, but to my mind only a symptom of a greater urge on the part of government to mico-manage every aspect of a citizen's existence to conform to some ideal. If the politicians and bureaucrats had their way, all Americans would be thin, compliant, tax-revenue-generating sheeple, ready to be shorn of their income to fund some pet project of an influencial government figure as they are being shorn of their civil liberties, like being able to dine in public at private establishments. Legislation like this is simply the canary in the coal mine.
Current Mood: infuriatedinfuriated
Current Music: "Give Him Cornbread" -- Beau Jocque and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers
Tags:

(21 seeds eaten | Eat a pomegranate)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:shiv5468
Date:February 2nd, 2008 12:16 pm (UTC)
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Erm, seriously.

Good grief.
[User Picture]
From:theentwife
Date:February 2nd, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
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Yes, it really takes the cake, doesn't it? Literally.


Persephone
[User Picture]
From:shiv5468
Date:February 2nd, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
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That would be utterly illegal here.
[User Picture]
From:theentwife
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
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Yes, well -- over there there are some politicians with common sense, a commodity apparently in short supply on this side of the puddle.


Persephone
[User Picture]
From:harpiegirl4
Date:February 2nd, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
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I agree that this is a pretty scary "Big Brotheresque" tactic. At the same time, obesity is a very real problem in this country, and it's largely due to the unbelievable GARBAGE that fast-food restaurants pass off as "food". You know you've got problems when even MICE won't touch a so-called "hamburger." There is almost no nutritional value, the fat content in one serving is about three weeks' worth (no exaggeration), and the poisons... yes, POISONS, in those foods are slowly killing people every day -- clogging arteries, slowing down metabolisms, making them HUNGRIER, causing problems that lead to diabetes, heart problems, etc. Personally, I think that what they should do instead is make it illegal to serve that crap at all, to ANYBODY.

;)
[User Picture]
From:foudebassan
Date:February 2nd, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC)
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The answer is far easier - tax it. It doesn't deprive people of their free will but it helps them make a choice the way you want to - if a hamburger is ten times the price of an organic bread roll with tofu filling who'll choose the hamburger? And with the tax money the state can pay for the hospitals and doctor to treat cardio-vascular diseases too. Same result, but no dictatorial methods.
[User Picture]
From:theentwife
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
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The establishment of a "sin tax" on food is such a bad idea. Who would decide what the "bad foods" are? Vegetarians and vegans? (They can get fat too, eating all that tofu "ice cream" and guzzling soymilk . . . )


Persephone
[User Picture]
From:foudebassan
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Isn't there some kind of a consensus that some ingredients, like hydrogenated fat or excessive salt in baked goods, are bad for one's health and are only there because it makes the end product cheaper for a comparable taste? (that's why homemade goods are healthier, because those ingredients are only industrial and you use better quality stuff when cooking at home, even if it's fat and sweet as well)
[User Picture]
From:theentwife
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
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NYC has enacted a ban on the use of trans fats in all food sold in the city for just those reasons. (Groceries as well as restaurant food.)

The problem is that there are certain desirable properties to those fats that now have to be substituted for with less healthy (but NATURAL!) fats like palm oil. So folks aren't going to really be getting any health benefit, in the long run.


Persephone
[User Picture]
From:theentwife
Date:February 2nd, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
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Well, see the problem is that this is not targeted at just fast food restaurants. (And some of those serve nice healthy salads and yogurt as well as the artery-clogging stuff, FYI.) This legislation is for ALL restaurants, even the tofu-pushing ones that serve vegans.

I feel people should be free to eat what they like, even if it is "bad" for them. This legislation is infantilizing adults and removing one of the most basic choices one has -- of what to eat or not to eat.


Persephone
[User Picture]
From:harpiegirl4
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
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FYI, fast food "health" food is also poisonous. Ever read the contents of one of those packets of salad dressing? ::shudder:: Or how much sugar is in one of those "healthy" yogurts?

Yes, people should have the choice of what to eat, I agree with you there. But I do also think that there should be some regulations on how badly restaurants are allowed to poison Americans without being convicted of attempted murder.
[User Picture]
From:theentwife
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
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Actually, I have, on both counts. But you can't do any better in a grocery store, nor even in a health food store -- similar ingredients and still loads of sweetener, even if the label reads "organic cane sugar" instead of "high fructose corn syrup". And even the diet yogurts contain corn syrup in addition to the artificial sweeteners, so one can't escape from excess sugar that way either.


Persephone
[User Picture]
From:foudebassan
Date:February 2nd, 2008 01:15 pm (UTC)
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That's preposterous. How to they want to enforce it - have each and every patron undress and stand on a scale before the meal? You must have a lobby of restaurant owners to stand against this.
[User Picture]
From:theentwife
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
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Apparently BMI is the criteria to be used, so it seems would-be patrons of size will be forced to get onto a scale or some other type of fat-measuring device and hope they are found "worthy" of being allowed to consume food in public.

Probably just a matter of time then before something similar is mandated for groceries stores as well, lest those horrible, disgusting eyesores of humanity dare EAT even the smallest morsel of food before becoming socially acceptable to an anorexia-plagued society.

The next step after this will be for people to be forced to drink prune juice if some bureaucrat decides they haven't moved their bowels often enough to suit some mandated standard.

I'm sure the restaurant owners will try to fight this, but given other legislation that has passed in this country (like smoking bans where one can no longer even smoke in one's own car or even outside, much less a restaurant or bar), I'm not terribly hopeful this piece of idiocy will get quashed before it becomes the law.


Persephone
[User Picture]
From:foudebassan
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
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It does make for nice plot bunnies though. Chocolate smuggling over the borders! Anorexics making a living by buying cookies and re-selling them over the Internet, on the black market! Undercover overweight policement trying walking to the cash register with Swiss cheese to see whether it passes!

Okay, perhaps not as nice if it comes to pass in real life.
[User Picture]
From:theentwife
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
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Now you've bunnied me! I'm trying to bandage the wound from the DH-compliant one that just bit, where militant vegan Death Eaters are dictating food choices for the entire British Wizarding World. The Ministry of course complies, as Voldemort viciously tears into the crudités at Minister Thickness' soirée and Fenrir eyes the guests with a gleam in his eye . . .


Persephone
[User Picture]
From:chiralove
Date:February 2nd, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
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Seriously? I can't imagine this standing up in court if it were challenged ... could it? OMG, people are idiots.

hahaha okay maybe that wasn't the most mature reaction ... but ugh. Too early in the morning ... *wanders off to find coffee before it's made illegal*
[User Picture]
From:theentwife
Date:February 2nd, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
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Other health-related legislation has withstood court challenges, so this might as well. And yes, people are idiots.

Best enjoy that caffeine while you can. It is a stimulant after all . . .


Persephone
[User Picture]
From:mephistakitten
Date:February 3rd, 2008 12:07 am (UTC)
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What pisses me off is that BMI is a flawed measure. There are bodybuilders with pounds and pounds of muscle who are "obese" because of their weight/height ratio.

So wrong!

I'd like to see a REQUIREMENT for every restaurant to post its nutritional info on the menu. So people can realize "this entree has 1800 calories and this appetizer has 1200 calories and this appetizer has 800 calories". It's really hard to believe some of the nutritional values of restaurant food, and having them posted would make a huge difference.

Offering nutritional counseling and screening for diseases that cause obesity like hypothyroidism, PCOS, and diabetes is smart. Offering discounted gym memberships to obese people is smart. Even offering a discount on low calorie foods for obese people would be really nice...
[User Picture]
From:elfwreck
Date:February 4th, 2008 08:00 am (UTC)
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Bodybuilders and pregnant women.

Yeah, those are the ones we gotta push to keep their weight down.
[User Picture]
From:samuraiartguy
Date:February 3rd, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
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That's Frakkin' INSANE. ...

Remind me to be real careful where I might relocate if I ever leave NYS...

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