It’s amazing what fat is used to justify. Besides the increased health risks associated with obesity, we’re told fat people harm national defense, make global warming worse, and decrease workplace productivity.* The “Oh, but we need to do something about obesity!!!” is trotted out to sell organic foods, free range foods, Whole Foods, books, TV shows, spas, beauty products, workout systems, clothing, fat camps, school-based “interventions”, workplace “wellness” programs, and so on.
Now, some physical fitness instructors in Denver are upset that private property owners and city parks don’t want to have their open space used rent-free for fitness classes. And what is one of the justifications?
[I]n a country battling obesity and high rates of heart disease and diabetes, they say, governments should be doing everything possible to get people up and moving.
Note this dispute isn’t about a specific “anti-obesity” program. This is about small businesses using public parks, or even privately owned areas open to the public, to offer private fitness classes.
Obesity isn’t the actual story. The story is a clash between those who enjoy taking or offering open-air classes and those who’d like to enjoy the park without them. It’s also about small businesses that want to offer classes without having to rent space and the need for the parks to be available to all.* The “but we need to fight obesity, heart disease & diabetes” is thrown in as an appeal to the public interest. Why? Because being fat is assumed to be bad, to be wrong, to be against the public interest.
This is probably not how the writer intended it. And yet.
*It’s assumed, of course, that all fat people get sick more often. That said, it’s interesting to note that office equipment that fits the worker can improve productivity.
**”People will still be able to get together to play Frisbee or soccer. But if money changes hands, said Jeff Green, a Denver Parks spokesman, ‘you need to have a permit.’”