Friday, 16 November 2007

Treating people like luggage for the sake of Highlighting the Obesity Crisis

From Australia, the trend setters for ‘’nannyism’’, comes this story about how the obese should be billed a ‘’heavy load’’ surcharge when buying their plane ticket.

In a society where everything has to make money sense, it’s not surprising, but appalling nonetheless, that a leading nutritionist would suggest that people be treated the same way as luggage. As some commentators to this story suggested, it should be pointed out to Tickell, that according to the latest international standards for ‘’normality’’ in weight, thin people are the minority. Aren’t we constantly told that majority rules and the minority should just shush up and put up? Tickell had better start piling on these calories if he wants a say in the issue!

Sorry but just couldn’t resist the sarcasm this morning.

Australia airline 'fat tax' urged

A leading Australian nutritionist has urged airlines to charge obese passengers more for their seats.

Dr John Tickell believes a "fat tax" would highlight his country's obesity crisis and make commercial sense, as heavier loads increase fuel costs.

But health groups have warned that to single out people with weight problems could cause them emotional stress.

Recent studies estimate that 67% of Australian men and over half of women aged over 25 are overweight or obese.

Experts have warned that by 2030 half of the country's children will be overweight or obese if the problem goes unchecked.

In March, Australian health officials were forced to equip their fleet of ambulances with heavy-duty stretchers to cope with the sharp rise in overweight patients.

Too precious

Dr Tickell, a leading nutritionist and author, told the BBC that society should take a more hardline stance against obesity and get tough on fat airline passengers.

He said that Australian airlines should impose charges on their overweight clients, as they do for excess baggage, because heavier loads increase fuel costs.

"I fly Sydney to Perth - five hours - and being totally disadvantaged by some huge person next to me literally flopping over into my seat. Why should I pay the same as them?" he asked.

Dr Tickell said it was important to start highlighting Australia's obesity crisis.

"I think we're a bit too nice, we're a bit too precious about minority groups. I think the majority group must have something to say too," he added.

But the chief executive of the Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity, Dr Tim Gill, said penalty charges should not be imposed on overweight passengers.

"It's not fair to single out those people who have a problem, which is already impacting greatly on their life, and make them feel like pariahs," he said.

A spokesman for the Australian budget airline, Jetstar, said it had no plans to charge larger passengers more for their seats.

Airlines are, however, monitoring long-term trends in the size and shape of their customers, the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney says.


Anonymous said...

Bah, I'm for higher prices for people who take up two seats. Free market, right? They want or need more, they pay more. Forcing an airline to accommodate them at the same rate, even though these huge passengers take up more resources (space) and are more expensive to cater to, is what I would consider encroachment into the liberties of the airlines.


C.A.G.E. said...

Although it is indeed the airline companies' privilege to charge more if an obese is taking up the space of two seats, it is hardly public health's business to dictate or influence such a decision for the sake of scaring the obese into compliance.