Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Fat Tax"? What's Next?

I heard about this on CNN this morning and my ears perked up. Alabama wants to make people who are overweight and obese (according to their BMI) pay a monthly fee as an incentive to “get healthy”.

I’m not even going to bother posting a link to this because all you have to do is Google “fat tax” or “Alabama fat tax” and you’ll find a ton of articles on this.

Apparently this isn’t completely new news and information has been circulating on the Internet about it for several weeks.

So here’s my question… What’s next? A tax on being short? The bigger question… A tax on being chronically ill?

This whole thing presupposes that there is a real definition of what it means to be “healthy” or “normal”. Plus, as many who are chronically ill know, the pounds can pile on for various reasons (i.e. prednisone) and NOT go away, no matter how much diet or exercise (if you are able given your illness) is involved.

So, what do “y’all” think about this?


  1. So, is it calculated based on weight? That is disgusting. And, it is expensive to buy diet food and join a gym or buy equipment. Some people simply can't afford it. Look at all the cheapest food in the grocery store -- it's all bad for you. Look at the healthiest food -- it's all the most expensive in the store. So, this might come down to taxing people who are too poor to afford healthy food and go to the gym. Again, disgusting. I know I'm fat but taxing me won't change the side effects of my medicine. It might keep me from affording my medicine...

  2. If it's as an incentive to get thinner, I don't think they'd ever think of a tax on being short or being chronically ill, because you can't do anything about it. We didn't do anything to get these chronic illnesses and if there was a cure, wouldn't we jump on it? So I don't that'll happen.

    Fat tax, though... I know people who are way healthier than me and weigh a lot more than me. I wouldn't categorize them as fat, because they're fit. That's other than people who are on Prednisone and other medicines that increase appetite and add weight. Also... what about pregnant women? Doesn't it take them time to get rid of the fat from pregnancy?

  3. yeah, like we need to divide this country even more...

    As a skinny person with lupus, let me just say it's not all that its cracked up to be - I bet I look 10 years older than I am, have lost most of my muscle tone due to the fatigue, am so VERY cold in the fall thru spring and get absolutely no sympathy when I complain that I'm going into my 50's with no fat stores to see me into old age.

    There's something to be said about having some meat on our bones and Alabama needs to re-think what message they're sending - I'm the only one (besides my med team) who belongs on my bathroom scale.

    Be 'healthy' and keep the numbers out of it.

  4. To respond to these comments:
    1. It's calculated based on BMI

    2. Anonymous (1) is right about the fact that it is implicitly taxing poor people, who live in areas where healthy food is neither cheap nor readily available.

    3. As far as Anonymous (2), that's the point, though. Not all overweight people can just lose weight. It's not that simple. You are assuming that being fat is something that people desire to be and can easily change and I don't think that's true in many cases.

    4. Maria, I completely agree. I'm thin and cold all the time, too.

    5. I think that this issue is further complicated by the fact that there are medical, genetic, physiological, and psychological issues all at play here. BMI is notorious for being an incredibly crude measure of how to measure "fitness" level.

    Anyway, glad it was a thought provoking, however controversial, post.