Friday, February 1, 2008

Obese Eating Ban Considered In Mississippi

By Charles W. Kim
JACKSON, Miss. – Obese people may soon be banned from public eateries if a new bill sees the light of day.

Three Mississippi state legislators have introduced a bill that would prohibit certain establishments from serving food to obese people.

The House of Representatives bill 282, introduced by members Mayhall, Read and Shows, would prohibit establishments seating four or more from serving people meeting criteria as obese, according to the bill.

The state could revoke the business permits of the establishments that repeatedly violate the law, according to the proposed legislation.

The bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee Jan. 25 and is proposed to become effective July 1 if passed, according to the state’s legislative web site.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines obesity as a person with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.

BMI is a calculation of a person’s height and weight proportion and is different for each person, according to the CDC.

Obesity is linked to several serious medical conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, sleep apnea and some cancers, according to the CDC.

According to the center, obesity increased in the United States from 15 percent of adults 20-70 in 1976-80 to 32.9 percent from 2000-04.

Increases were also noted among children, adolescents and teens during the period, according to the center.

The center has a goal of addressing the issue nationwide by 2010 and has several programs in several different states.

Twenty-eight states are currently receiving funding from the center to carry out the programs, according to the CDC.

Studies conducted in 1998 found medical costs attributed to being obese to range between $26.8 billion and $47.5 billion, according to the CDC.

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