The Legal System And Weight Discrimination

Given the apparent pervasiveness of weight prejudice, it is surprising that no federal laws prohibit this form of discrimination and that only a handful of states include body weight in their definitions of unlawful discrimination (16,43,44). Weight discrimination has most often been fought using the Rehabilitation Act and American Disabilities Act (45), though the success of this legislation for obese people has been inconsistent. Unreliable rulings result from differing court views of when or if obesity meets disability criteria, common assumptions that obesity is a voluntary and changeable condition, and ambiguities surrounding definitions of obesity and impairment (43,46). If these trends persist in the courts, rulings will likely produce mixed and unpredictable results.

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