IT Employment optimize

Recent court rulings could make weight an issue in hiring

Due to a couple of recent court rulings, companies may have to pay for weight loss surgery if fixing a workplace injury requires it. Will this cause some employers to discriminate against obese people?

In 2007, Adam Childers, a cook at a restaurant chain called Boston's The Gourmet Pizza, injured his back while at work. Doctors determined that Childers was overweight and without weight-loss surgery, the back injury couldn't be fixed. Childers was advised to undergo weight-loss surgery and the company was forced to pay for it as part of the Workers' Compensation claim.

The company argued that Childer's weight constituted a pre-existing condition for which it was not responsible. But the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled differently, saying that the employee's pre-existing obesity, combined with his back injury and subsequent weight gain, formed a new work-related "single injury" the employer was responsible for treating.

There was a similar case in August in which the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that an employer was responsible for paying for weight-loss surgery for an employee who needed a knee replacement but had to lose weight first.

Although such cases are still rare, I can see how paranoid employers might use it against hiring people who are considered "obese." (According to data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and 27 percent -- about 72 million -- are obese.)

The overweight, like smokers, are not protected by the ADA and haven't historically had much success claiming they were discriminated against.

There's also the definition of "obese" to contend with. As defined by the National Institutes of Health, you are obese if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 and above. (A BMI of 30 is about 30 pounds overweight.) A BMI is a person's weight in kilograms divided by his or her height in meters squared.

There's really no good weapon to fight against discrimination based on weight, but states can create insurance pools similar to the "second injury funds" established to encourage employers to hire disabled individuals. The funds help employers pay for pre-existing disabilities further complicated by workplace injuries.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

314 comments
Osiyo53
Osiyo53

As to your main point, concerning whether or not one's weight could become a hiring issue. Of course it could. In some cases it already is and has been. Its just not generally openly discussed.

Dukhalion
Dukhalion

can You sue others for Your own faults or stupidities...

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

It just doesn't happen too often though, as people prefer to accept personal responsibility before looking stupid and useless in front of their peers. ;) I think many such people would actually find support from others in the USA who feel 'YES, it is someone else's fault I screwed up'. Try it in most other countires and everyone would laugh at you and tell you to stop wasting court's time and city resources on such issues that are a result of personal negligence or inadequacy.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]Try it in most other countires and everyone would laugh at you and tell you to stop wasting court's time and city resources on such issues that are a result of personal negligence or inadequacy.[/i] Yet you still think that the government should pay for everyone's medical...

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

So what if you're the last one who knows when it starts raining :) (this EEEPC keyboard is the hardest thing to type on...)

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

It's an oxymoron, civil court. P.S. yes I am short, got a problem with that? ;)

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

Talk about missing the mark! Are you three feet tall and everything just goes flying over your head? :D

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Giving up now as that's not what I was talking about at all. Talk about missing the mark! Are you three feet tall and everything just goes flying over your head? :D

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

Is paid for by taxpayers. [i]on such issues that are a result of personal negligence or inadequacy.[/i] Waste is waste, isn't it? [i]when they could be prosecuting a real criminal.[/i] You don't have civil courts up there?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Has nothing to do with someone wasting the court's time when they could be prosecuting a real criminal. It also illustrtates how menial the person's complaint is, if even the court's time and cost is deemed more important.

JamesRL
JamesRL

Why do people in the US seem sue happy compared to the rest of the world? I don't think its necessarily cultural, it is a legal system and a precedence for high paying lawsuits. Ironicaly I read today that Maher Arar, the Canadian who was sent to Syria by the US government where he was tortured (rendition) based on the information the US provided Syria, does not have the right to sue the US government. Does anyone else see the irony? James

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

ut never forget, it's the [i]rest[/i] of the world that's screwed up and deserves people's attention, not the USA. Citizen: "Hey, look at this, this isn't right!" Government: "Quick, look over there!"

JamesRL
JamesRL

Canada provided bad information (and owned up to that fact, and paid compensation). But Canada in no way sanctioned rendition to Syria. We have explicit laws and treaties against such things (and has caused some angst in the Afghanistan situation). Canada was not consulted, and would not have consented to shipping him off to Syria, as Syria is known to use torture. Canada didn't have enough to charge him or hold him (obviously). Canada has held several suspects in prison or under house arrest for years. I'm not suggesting that Canada was not at fault, but Canada didn't ship him off to be tortured, that was the US. What would happen to a foreign power if they did something similar to a US citizen? He can still appeal to the supreme court. James

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]based on the information the US provided Syria[/i] Are you sure you read that right? I read he got $10 million from the Canadian government because of faulty information they gave to the US. [i]does not have the right to sue the US government. [/i] Neither do I... without their permission.

rkendsley
rkendsley

How did I know Toni would be behind this when I read the headline?

FortBragg_Surfgoddess
FortBragg_Surfgoddess

Okay first off I know not everyone is a 98 pound waif, and I know personally how hard it is to sit at a computer all fracking day, and then try to motivate one?s self to go out and get some exercise. But a little personal responsibility is needed. Don?t sit and eat candy and drink soda, and at lunch try to go for a walk around the building or something. I think that business needs to learn a lesson from the Military, and condone a PT session during the day? I mean even if it is just a mile walk or something. I am in my 40?s and folks in my age cohort just seem to have given up. Come on go out and ride a bike, go for a jog/swim? something to feel alive!!!!

tech
tech

I don't eat candy (or sweets). Couldn't tell you the last time I had a slice of pie or cake. I don't eat fast food. I haven't had a soda (not even diet) in 10 years. I am on a 1,200 calorie diet, and have been for the better part of 4 years with my Drs. telling me that I should not be below 1,800 calories, my Base Metalic Rate should be about 2,600 calories a day. I walk 2 miles a day. I lift weights for 40 - 70 minutes a day 6 days a week. My current job has me sitting 10 hours a day, but in the past I worked construction 12 hours a day. I am VERY proactive in trying to control my weight but the truth is (like it or not, believe it or not) that I have been overweight my entire life, and I am not talking 10 pounds either. Everyone is not built the same. I have at least 3 strikes against my metabolism, I am on my 4th Dr. and none of them have been able to figure out why I can't lose weight. They all say I need to reduce stress in my life and get 8 hours of sleep. Well that is easier said than done. I get on average 2 - 3 hours of sleep a day (always been that way) and if I take sleeping pills I wake up in 3 hours and feel awful for the entire day, but still don't sleep. My mother suffers from this as well and so did my paternal grandmother. Should I quit my job to get rid of my stress? Who exactly is going to provide me with my income, insurance, . . . It is soooo easy for you arm chair quarterbacks to tell everyone what they are doing wrong!

SoCalDoc
SoCalDoc

The article merely stated that a couple of injured workers were obese when it came time to treat their injured body parts. NOTHING was said about obesity causing the injuries, or even that they were obese before their injuries. Nonetheless, most bloggers assumed that obesity was a causative factor in their injuries. Issue - We often don't parse what we hear or read. What about the LAW? If found liable by the court, the defendant has to pay for just about everything that would have not occurred (like surgeries and anything to make the surgeries safe and effective), BUT FOR THE EVENT THAT CAUSED THE INJURY. Issue - We too often hop right over the logical bases (or lack thereof) for what we are talking about. There is a significant error in Ms. Bowers? explanation of BMI. A BMI of 30 DOES NOT MEAN that you are 30 lbs overweight. For example, a 68 in 140 lb individual has a middle normal BMI of 21. He/she would have to weigh 200 lb for an obese BMI of 30. 60 lb, not 30 lb. The blogs were silent on this. http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ Issue - Do not believe any technical statements in the popular media unless it is a direct quote from a TECHNICAL source that you can check out yourself, especially if this is outside your area of expertise. BTW It is controversial whether or not obesity is an independent risk factor for back pain at all. Google ?BMI? and ?low back pain?, or better still check out PubMed.

SoCalDoc
SoCalDoc

Google BMI ?low back pain and these three references pop up 1-2-3. An aye and two nays to the correlation of low back pain and obesity. Please note that all three of these studies dealt with REAL patients with or without REAL back pain. At least read the last couple of sentences in each abstract. Like it or not, agreeing with your experience and common sense or not, this is the state of the present science. Common sense and experience are always limited by our personal biases and limitations. That is why we go to the science. Reality is not always what it seems to be at first glance. As I said, parse what you read, check out the logical (scientific) bases before leaping, and check out the TECHNICAL literature, not the popular media. BTW Spineuniverse.com. annecollins.com, orthopod.com, etc are popular media, NOT peer-reviewed scientific journals. They may be entertaining reading, but they have no medical or scientific value. PubMed or Google Scholar may be BORING, but are good portals to scientific and medical reality. They are NOT opinions in the sense that say, Fox News or MSNBC are opinions. BTW I don?t have chronic low back pain myself, and don?t have a really big gut, so I cannot provide much experience as a patient in that regard. I do have some decades of medical practice and teaching experience and mechanical engineering practice and teaching experience and injury biomechanics experience. My common sense and experience may be different than yours. BTW My initial comment was MUCH longer, and I virtually eviscerated it to about 300 words. As I now see, MUCH longer pieces are being accepted. Chiropr Osteopat. 2005 Apr 11;13(1):2. Is obesity a risk factor for low back pain? An example of using the evidence to answer a clinical question. Mirtz TA, Greene L. University of Kansas, Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Science, Lawrence, Kansas, USA. numitor@ku.edu. BACKGROUND: Obesity as a causal factor for low back pain has been controversial with no definitive answer to this date. The objective of this study was to determine whether obesity is associated with low back pain. In addition this paper aims to provide a step-by-step guide for chiropractors and osteopaths on how to ask and answer a clinical question using the literature. METHODS: A literature review using the MEDLINE search engine using the keywords "obesity", "low back pain", "body mass index" "BMI" and "osteoarthritis" from years 1990 to 2004 was utilised. The method employed is similar to that utilised by evidence-based practice advocates. RESULTS: The available data at this time is controversial with no clear-cut evidence connecting low back pain with obesity. CONCLUSION: There is a lack of a clear dose-response relationship between body mass index (BMI) and low back pain. Further, studies on the relationship between obesity and related lumbar osteoarthritis, knee pain, and disc herniation are also problematic.There is little doubt that future studies with controlled variables are needed to determine the existence of an unambiguous link, if any. PMCID: 1151650 http://www.bahrainmedicalbulletin.com/march_2000/association.pdf Bahrain Medical Bulletin, Vol. 22, No. 1, March 2000 The Association of Low Back Pain with Obesity in One of the Primary Health Care Centers Mohammed Halalsheh, MD, JBFM Mohammed Tarawneh, MD,JBFM Ziad Mahadine, MD,JBFM Objective: The present study was designed to assess the association between low back pain and obesity in patients attending one of the primary health care centers. Methods: A case control study of patients attending Marka Medical Center (Amman Jordan) was conducted over 7 months (Jan-Jul 1998). All patients with low back pain were included as cases and an equal number of controls, matched for sex and age (?3 years) were randomly selected for comparison. WHO classification was used for categorization of Body Mass Index (BMI). Results: There were a total of 513 (208 males and 305 females) patients complaining of low back pain. Female to male ratio was 1.5 to 1. The mean age of cases was 45.2 years; while that of the controls was 42.8 years. Only 16.7% of patients with low back pain can be considered as ideal body weight as compared with 58.1% among controls. The mean BMI (?SD) of cases was 32.2 (?7) Kg/m2, while of the controls was 26.5 (?6.6) Kg/m2 (P

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

We all know taht everything we find online is accurate, so I have to give you that. We all know that anything you find online will never be countered by equally compelling scientific documentation to the contrary. But what we don't all have is common sense and logic, as we see absent in yoru post for example. THINK about it, understand how the limvar spine operates, think about muscle density of a healthy and unhealthy or obese person. Your answers should be very clear. I have spoken to more doctors on this exact matter than you could Google in a week. And ALL of them, EVERY SINGLE ONE, will tell you that your chances of increasing the risk of back injuries skyrockets with weight gain. But of course, if 2 of the first 3 Google hits says otherwise then you MUST be right. If yuo are so bent on finding facts online, why don't you try a relevant search instead? "Does obesity increase chances of back injury" HIT 1: "If you are overweight or obese, you may be grappling with back pain, [b]a very common problem for heavy people. Carrying extra weight can increase your risk for developing several back disorders."[/b] HIT 2: "Connection to Back Pain Most people know that obesity contributes to the development of coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer. However, did you know that [b]obesity is a contributing factor to back pain? It is true."[/b] HIT 3: requires medical authorization to view In other words, you have no point and no sustantiative proof to what is widely knows as a common cause of back injury. To even THINK that obesity and back pain are not directly related illustrates an utter misunderstanding of the spinal column and muscular structure of man.

JamesRL
JamesRL

While there are some studies that show a link, and others that say its inconclusive, this site quotes a recent survey that says 87% of Spinal care professionals agree "that obesity plays one of the most significant roles in back pain". "The three most common diagnoses in obese patients include degenerative disc disease, which includes wear and tear of the disc itself; spondylolisthesis, which is a slippage in the lower back from wear and tear; and a disc rupture or herniation. Obese patients are also at an increased risk of developing spondylolysis, a fracture in the vertebrae, and spinal stenosis, which is narrowing of the spinal canal." I'm not suggesting that exercise doesn't mitigate the risk. James

jck
jck

It's just the fact that there are things that contribute more to back pain/injury than being even morbidly obese. -Manual labor jobs -Working a job involving a lot of bending, extending the torso, and squatting etc etc etc As for biomechanics, I used to be about 200 lbs heavier. I was almost 300 lbs overweight. I would go out and play tennis for 2-3 hours. My body compensated well for being about 2.5 times what I should have been. I'm more sedentary too. I have often thought of taking on part time/weekend labor working in lawn care, tree clearing/trimming, etc. I, to be honest, am tired of sitting behind a desk. Now, morbid obesity and super-morbid obesity definitely cause problems. However, that's mostly cardiac, joint inflamation and wear, and sanitary issues. But I just don't see being "overweight" as a major contributor to back pain or back injury, especially in the case of most Americans who are just slightly overweight. Oh well, we're a nation of unfitness Current president: smoker Last president: alcoholic President before: pot smoker Yay America! :^0

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

"FACT: I am one of those so called "fat f**k"s. I am quite certain I can outlift you any day of the week. Bench press 385, Squat 535, do I need to go on?" Reminds me of an instance that happened way back when I was a young sea pup, fairly new to the Navy. We had a piece of equipment take a dump on us. A critical item, and of course one located where working on it at all was a b*tch. Component pieces were all heavy and there was no room in which to work short of doing everything the hard way by direct application of human muscle. Our Chief announced that repairs needed to be done NOW, as quickly as possible, and our work day would end only once the equipment was running again. No matter how long that took. We sweated, groaned, cursed, busted knuckles, etc. Finally got this crankshaft out of the thing, which would need some re-machining. So it needed to be gotten to our machine shop on the ship. I can still remember that the sucker weighed 487 lbs. We barely had room to squeeze a body in to grab it and wrestle it out of the crankcase, maneuver it through a machinery room tightly packed with other machinery you could barely squeeze your own body through. Then needed to get it up several decks, move it forward a few hundred feet and then back down a couple decks to where the machine shop was. A buddy and I used lifting straps, one end looped around an end of the crankshaft, the other around neck and across shoulders. Squat in synch, lift, shuffle feet. Stop every once in a while to catch breath. Across the machinery room, and then up 5 decks via those very steep stairs that sailors call "ladders". We'd just gotten up to the main deck and were taking a break, huffing and puffing. Sweating like crazy as we were in the South China Seas in the height of the warm season. We'd been working without a break for hours just to get the original equipment apart and to get this far (had been working for over 18 hours before this equipment failure had even happened in the first place), were tired and more than a little grouchy. And along comes our Chief, looking fresh and rested, recently bathed, in clean neatly pressed khakis, slurping a cup of coffee. He demands to know what the holdup is, what were we doing? Slacking off? LOL ... I was dirty, tired, and sore. And about then I just didn't give a damn. I just stared at this fellow who looked at neat and well rested, slurping a cup of coffee I would have willingly wrestled a bear for about then, with his over large belly hanging well over his belt, and blew up. Now this Chief was new to us, had just reported aboard a couple weeks before this. So I really knew nothing about him. Just the little I'd seen of him as we'd been very, very busy this whole time. All I saw was what looked to me to be a fat, lazy, well rested, soft living, "lifer" a**hole. With his big gut sticking out. (As I recall, about then I had a 27 inch waist and came in at about 160 pounds.) I lost it, was fighting mad, and thinking that some brig time would be well worth the price of just punching his running lights out. Besides, if I went to the brig, at least I'd get fed regular and get some rest. I yelled at him. Forget exactly what I said but it was certainly not complimentary. And took a shot at his jaw, giving it my best. Which wouldn't have been shabby. I'd started formal lessons in boxing, wrestling, judo and jujitsu, and some other forms of fighting as a kid, and was more than just a fair amateur. Sport fighting was a passion for me. And I'd done a lot of sport fighting and had been in more than a couple serious, real fights. I was pretty darned good at it, and knew it. ROFLMAO ! He surprised heck out of me, knocked the blow aside ... casually ... didn't even spill his coffee. Grabbed the front of my shirt, pulled me close ... nose to nose with him ... and growled, "Don't write any checks you can't cash, junior! Now what the h*ll is your major malfunction?" I stuttered out that dang it, we WERE working as hard as we could, but Geez the darn piece of metal was heavy and we were tired and taking a short break just to catch our wind again. "Damn it Chief, that sucker is heavy. If you think YOU can do better, be my guest ... SHOW ME." Chuckle ... he did. Calmly handed me his coffee cup, telling me not to spill any or he'd be pi**ed. Grabbed one end of that crankshaft, upended it, then grabbed hold and lifted and carried it all the way forward and down a couple decks to the machine shop. Without stopping, and looking as if the darn thing didn't weigh any more than a goodly sized bag of taters. Was barely breathing deeper or faster than normal at the end of the trip and calmly, coolly asked for his coffee cup back. He casually commented, "A piece of cake, a no sweater. What are you guys complaining about? If you little pu**ys need any more help, just ask, I'll be in the Chief's Mess having breakfast." Me, I was fast revising my impressions of him. And thanking God that my blow had not actually landed ... since it might have pi**ed him off. And by now, I was pretty sure I didn't want this fellow mad at me. I was to later find out he'd been a Navy UDT and then a SEAL. AND a competitive weight lifter who'd won quite a number of contests. But had been injured in combat, had his ear drums blown so badly he'd never be able to dive again, had much reduced hearing, and was missing some internal parts he been born with. The Navy had given him this assignment just so he could finish his 20 years and qualify for a regular pension. Rather than his having to get a medical discharge and a reduced medical (partial disability) pension. It certainly taught me not to make rash judgments about someone based solely on the size of their gut. Something that got re-enforced in my mind at a later time when I married. My new father-in-law was a big man, who quite evidently liked his chow ... a LOT. I liked the fellow, his personality and such. But did sort of think of him as just an old, fat guy. Numerous times when visiting him and his wife, and he was doing some chores about the house if I saw him about to do anything strenuous or involving heavy lifting I jumped in to do it for him. Taking pity on the poor fat fellow, as it were. LOL ... the one day we were prepping his fishing boat for the season and one of the engines had issues. So he decided to remove it from the boat to a work bench. An outboard engine, weighed some 360 lbs according to the manual. We got it loosened up, I jumped in to lift it, got her up and walked along maybe 20 feet with it when I stumbled a bit. Quickly he reached and lifted the sucker from my arms, and with one arm holding it closely to his side strolled over the rest of the way into his garage and dumped it on the work bench. I guess I was looking at him with a startled look, because he glanced back at me and chuckled, "I've been working in a foundry for 30 years, most of it on the line as a shaker or whatever was needed. I've spent all day manually lifting and moving cast pieces that weigh from a few pounds to a few hundred. I might be fat, but there is muscle under this fat, believe it." I did.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

As many times as you've hammered people in these forums for not providing citations for data and when you're given citations you blow them off?

tech
tech

at least here in the United States you take them as you find them. I work for a law firm and I can assure you that if he hurt his back as a result of doing something at work, under their direction it IS their responsibility to do whatever it takes to put it right, and it doesn't matter IF his weight was a contributing factor. The responsible party has to pay all costs to get him back the way he was prior to the accident. FACT: Lifting was the causal action FACT: The lifting occurred as a DIRECT result of his JOB. FACT: The back injury can't be corrected without weight loss. FACT: Since the back injury was a direct result of his job his employer is responsible for correcting the injury. FACT: The company doesn't even pay for it, the companies Workmans Comp Insurance does. FACT: You don't know (and neither do I) all of the facts surrounding this case. So you have no right to be so pompass. FACT: I am one of those so called "fat f**k"s. I am quite certain I can outlift you any day of the week. Bench press 385, Squat 535, do I need to go on? I used to work in a factory where we had to handle 2000lb+ bundles of paper, 500+ lb rolls of paper, 90+ lb rolls of plastic . . . and I could work anyone in the plant right into the ground. The whole point of the article is that this case might make employers discriminate based on weight, just like they do based on age, sex, and a host of other attributes. Finally I am sure you exemplify the human race, and are perfect in every way. I am sure you don't now and never have made any poor choices, such as smoking, drinking, doing drugs, pot, popped pills, came to work tired (the cause of MANY work related injuries), done something against the work rules, drive faster than the speed limit, run a stop sign, stepped on the gas to make it through a yellow light, cut someone off on a lane change. All of these things and many more can contribute to a work related injury, and I am certain if you came to work tired and were injured you wouldn't hesitate to go after the company. Let him without sin cast the first stone!

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Why on Earth would I even consider reading all that mindless medical drivel? You have no point, made no point, proved nothing, said nothing, it's just a heap of clips and quotes meaning sweet f-all. I can't believe you even see some relationship in what you are claiming and what has been said here by myself and others. The guy was a fat bastard, FACT. He injured his back lifting something. FACT he MUST lose weight before the doctor can operate or it is a pointless surgery. FACT. He thinks it's the COMPANY'S responsibility to cover his weight loss surgery. FALSE. [b]In order to have a case for court he must prove negligence as a result of causation. Was this "obesity" CAUSED because he was asked to lift something at work? Nope, thus it was not the employers fault and not the employers responsibility to resolve. Was his "injury" CAUSED because he lifted something that strained his back? Yes, and thus his spinal surgery is rightly covered. [/b] If someone is grossly overweight, and HE lifts weight, his weight increases the chances of his back injury, it's not a work related injury beyond the spinal surgery, he didn't get to be a fat f**k due to his work. And his weight makes him MORE prone to back injury from the most common of issues, sciatica, disk compression, pinched nerves, hyper extension etc. Stomach muscles play a HUGE part in spinal alignment and strength. Most obese people do not have the strongest stomach muscles (you can Google "obese with a six pack stomach" until your heart's content) and thus are FAR more susceptible to back injuries than people of average weight. Your BMI bulls*t is as irrelevant to this discussion as the price of eggs last Wednesday. Your harping on about googling doctors is horse crap, quotes or not. "Does obesity CONTRIBUTE TO low back pain? Sure" and you can add to that are you at higher risk of injuring your back when LIFTING while obese rather than healthy. Causation: What was the causation of the injury? Lifting. What was the causation of his weight? Who knows but it has nothing to do with his work. End of.

SoCalDoc
SoCalDoc

We have a basic problem here. Your responses exemplify what I initially wrote about - the way many simply KNOW THE TRUTH and ridicule any attempt to introduce a factual basis for disagreement. The internet is filled with garbage ? that is obvious. The internet (besides being a means to a living for many of the bloggers on this site) is merely a PORTAL to wisdom (or garbage if you choose). The articles I cited are PRINT articles in REFERRED MEDICAL JOURNALS which were either abstracted or appeared in their entirety on the web. Agree with the conclusions or not, these articles are wisdom, not internet garbage. The fact that they disagree, well that is the way it goes with empirical science. I myself agree with the "common sense" notion that obesity is for bad the health of anyone. Bad for the health, that is - world class sumo wrestlers might disagree with you that obesity is bad overall. I suspect that a difference between me and you is that I have a strong mechanical engineering/medicine/scientific background and know what I don't know (which is a lot, and increasing every day). LIKE WHETHER OR NOT OBESITY IS AN INDEPENDENT RISK FACTOR FOR BACK PAIN. The science says MAYBE, MAYBE NOT. A judge in a courtroom has to weigh that in making his/her decision. The studies I cited were based on interviews/examinations of thousands of patients. Surprised with the results? Me too, but I looked at these and MANY OTHER PAPERS and "maybe, maybe not" IS THE PRESENT SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS. Does obesity CONTRIBUTE TO low back pain? Sure. Does that mean that if you were slender, your back would not have been injured in a given situation? One cannot say that. That answer has to be given on a case-by-case basis. I am a physician (doctor)/engineer, and have analyzed the injury biomechanics of hundreds of low back injuries, usually related to automotive or industrial accidents. You did not interview me. I seriously doubt that of your hundreds of docs (it has to be hundreds since I can Google hundreds of docs in a week and you said you interviewed more than that), "EVERY SINGLE ONE [said] that your chances of increasing the risk of back injuries skyrockets with weight gain". Did they say that NFL players who beef up are "skyrocketing" their chance of back injury? I would guess that a normal weight NFL lineman would be susceptible to serious musculoskeletal injury (back, extremities) as well as impact injury (head, heart). Fat is a reasonable shock absorber. It is not as simple as you like to think. BTW I Googled Does obesity increase chances of back injury (without quotes), and will list your hits #1-#3. First, I think we will agree that it is extremely likely that obesity per se WILL NOT DECREASE chances of back injury. If so, it logically follows that (in a statistical sense) obesity will at best not help, and will in at least some cases contribute to back injury. And your results are: #1. A blog in About.com written by Anne Asher. You quoted only the first two sentences. Anne may be a good person, but she gives her credentials as: "Anne holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications Technology. She is also certified as a Holistic Health Practitioner and to teach Pilates-based movement." Written by a lay person, and not qualified as a medical authority. Definitely not a peer-reviewed article. No meaningful medical scientific content here. "An Injury Prevention Perspective on the Childhood Obesity Epidemic", an essay article: http://www.cdc.gov/Pcd/issues/2009/jul/08_0258.htm. Next in line, but you skipped over this scientifically based article which had a bunch of references to the literature and did not have catchy opening paragraphs supporting your convictions. #2. "Back Pain and Obesity", again Spineuniverse.com http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article2317.html. written by a orthopedic surgeon and/or a medical writer (non-medical person). Not a scientific peer-reviewed article. But, a catchy second paragraph. No references to any studies supporting a contention that obesity CAUSES back pain. 4. "Common Injuries in Athletes with Obesity and Diabetes". This article does NOT "require medical authorization to view". Here is the citation, easily obtained by any civilian by cutting and pasting the title into PubMed (which as the title indicates is open to the PUBLIC): Clin Sports Med. 2009 Jul;28(3):441-53. "Common injuries in athletes with obesity and diabetes". Wilder RP, Cicchetti M. Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Virginia, 545 Ray C. Hunt Drive, Suite 310, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA. rpw4n@virginia.edu Musculoskeletal injuries and diseases are common in persons with obesity and diabetes mellitus. High body mass index is associated with an increased risk for musculoskeletal injuries, diseases, and disability. There is a significant positive correlation between the level of obesity and musculoskeletal injuries, and disability and health-related costs. The prevalence of obesity and diabetes is inversely proportional to health-related quality of life. PMID: 19505625 So obese diabetic athletes have more musculoskeletal injuries, and they do not heal as fast. So what? All I have been trying to say is that it is critical to get the facts about an issue and understand them before leaping to an uninformed, preconceived and possibly emotional opinion. Bye.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

True, and that's what I am getting at all along. If you are overweight and out of shape, what may be a completely normal task for someone in better shape will often cause severe back pain, slipped disks, pinched nerves etc. for someone who is overweight. The first thing ANY doctor says when you suffer repetitive or easily induced back pain an are overweight is, LOSE WEIGHT! Just as the doctor in the original post has declared this guy HAS to lose weight or there's no point in doing anything for his back. Obviously he is in pain and isn't going ot get a gym memership so he is thus forced to surgical weight loss, and that has sweet F-all to do with the company he works for. That's a private issue for his private insurance to deal with.

JamesRL
JamesRL

You clearly didn't get my point. Which was, if I can restate it: Obesity may not CAUSE backpain, but is almost always a contributing factor to its severity. I'm overweight too. Don't be a hater. There are fat people with healthy backs, and skinny people with bad backs. Never said it was a one to one relationship, and if you wanna read that in, it probably says more about you than me. And of course, there is a difference between the kind of temporary back problem caused by muscle strain, and the chronic issues around sicatica, degenerating cartlidge, herniated discs etc. Never said you were fat, never said you weren't fit. Muscles can only compensate for so much. Our skeletons will have problems the more over "average" we weigh, and the back is the leading issue. Thats not judgmental, thats biomechanics. I'm struggling with the fact that I've become more sedentary since I broke my ankle. Yes, I've fully recovered, but I have to increase my exercise over what I did before the break just to get back to even. Who said life was fair. During my NYC trip, we walked many miles over the course of three days, it was easier to walk than figure out the subway, and cheaper than a cab. I ended up with a blister on one foot and a numb heel on the other. James

jck
jck

I am overweight. I did 10 hours of outdoor, manual labor this weekend involving about 4.5 tons of concrete mix. I guess my back hurt cause I was fat, right? I have known more skinny people with back problems than fat people. At least fat folks build muscle mass to support the back as their body becomes accustomed to their weight. Anyways. I might be fat, but I'm relatively healthy and can walk long distances and do manual labor with healthy people 10-20 years younger.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I certainly hope no sane person is under the impression that weight is not a contributory factor to back pain. But I think the question is, does it cause back pain or does it just make it worse. There are certainly other factors. Exercise can improve the stability of the back by strengthening the muscles. I do know heavy people with strong backs who exercise. I'm not coming down on either side, I'm sure that there are cases where back pain stems from a hereditary condition, bone issues, improper lifting issues, any number of things. But I am also equally convinced that some heavy people (myself included) have back pains that they would not have if they were not heavy. Trouble is its hard to do a proper analysis on these things. James

jck
jck

I've known girls who were petite and had large breasts and had back pain because of it. So, breasts are now unhealthy? Go figure. Another cookie cutter attitude.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

That issue seems to have clouded your concept or reality though. YOU suggest we don't know if he was obese when the injury ocurred? Okay, so some skinny guy throws his back out at work, in the following few weeks when treatment is discussed, he then becomes grossly obese? Give your head a rational shake. Having suffered from back injuries and ailments almost all my life, I can tell you first hand that when I have put on weight, I succumb to recurring pain much easier than when I am at a good weight. Find me a spinal specialist that doesn't see extended weight to be pulling the spinal cord to the front of the body and causing disk compression and I'll show you a plumber who wished he was a spinal specialist. seriously your links prove nothing, just more opinions. Medical facts on obesity and how it effects the spinal cord: [i]"Being overweight or obese can significantly contribute to symptoms associated with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), degenerative disc disease (DDD), spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. The spine is designed to carry the body's weight and distribute the loads encountered during rest and activity. When excess weight is carried, the spine is forced to assimilate the burden, which may lead to structural compromise and damage (e.g., injury, sciatica)."[/i] http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article2317.html [i]"Obesity - especially morbid obesity - carries a high risk of chronic musculoskeletal pain, specifically low back pain. As well as osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions, a number of other pain and problems in the low back may be aggravated by obesity."[/i] http://www.annecollins.com/weight_health/low-back-pain-morbid-obesity.htm "People who are obese seem to have worse back pain and symptoms than those who are not obese. And data collected from 15,000 patients at 26 different clinics showed that obese people with back problems have more day-to-day difficulties than obese people with other conditions. For example, someone with obesity and back pain is worse off than someone with obesity and shoulder or knee problems. Likewise, obesity and back pain have a worse outcome than obesity and cancer, lung disease, or lupus." http://www.eorthopod.com/public/patient_education/4429/obesity_and_back_problems_connecting_the_dots.html Causitive factors: Causation- When the spine is stressed forward it compresses the front of the lower lumbar disks and elongates the rear of the disk (usually between L4 and L5), causing the front of the disk to bulge. This cause a stiff back and some minor pain but usually nothing incapacitating. When you lift weight in addition to that compressed due to obesity, it over stresses the disk, often herniating it, or causing a pinched or twisted sciatic nerve. This is very debilitating and results in people needing time off work for healing or, in the case of Americans, back surgery and extended recovery time. When Obese, the time to recover from such issues is also lengthened, creating a great burden on the employers insurance and private health coverage too. Causation, in this case, MAY have been lifting the box but if that same box can resaonably lifted by a man without such an injury, then the causation is the obesity.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Carrying the extra weight of fat, depending on one's body type and the fat distribution, may well contribute to developing back problems and aggravate or worsen an existing injury. It's simple mechanics. Note that I do not use absolutes in my statement, because some overweight or obese folks have most of their extra weight carried in their lower bodies (hips, thighs, buttocks). Also, some overweight folks DO get regular and routine exercise of the type which strengthens their back muscles. i.e. I've known numerous manual laborers, stevedores, etc with years of lifting and carrying heavy loads who have the musculature to easily handle it (plus the work experience to know how to properly lift). Their problem being not a lack of exercise and adequate muscle but rather a habit of simply eating even more calories than they burn. However, you are certainly right, for most folks who are excessively overweight, that's gonna increase their risk of developing back problems and make recovery from such more difficult. Simple observation of those around one who are excessively overweight reveals that most such aren't all that physically active and don't routinely and regularly engage in the kind of activities that would keep one's bones, joints, tendons, and muscles in good shape. As to your comment: "or in the case of America, back surgery and extended recovery time" I've had quite a fair amount of experience in the past with knowing folks who've suffered back injuries. 23 years in the military, most of which I was responsible for quite a few folks, another 20 years as a civilian worker since retirement from the military. Right now, for the past 8 years, I've been on the safety committee of the company for whom I work, which employs over 800 folks. Add friends, relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances. I've known or known of quite a number of folks who've injured their backs. And talked to more than a few doctors about the subject. I don't know what your impression of the matter is, but from my experience here in America (USA), surgery on the back is almost always the option of last resort. It is spoken about a great deal, but for every person I know about who has injured his or her back and got back surgery for it, I've known dozens of others who did not. Where I work now we have a new construction/ new install department. In it are many guys who've injured their backs in the past. Usual treatment is a bit of time off from work along with some mild pain killers and muscle relaxants. Then some therapy and patient education to teach em how to avoid repeat or further injury. Counseling to lose some weight if that's an issue. Etc. Surgical repair has been the exception, not the rule. The damage has to be pretty darn severe for the doctors to even discuss the surgical option, in my experience. If and when they do decide its the best option, of course we pay for it (in cases of work related injury). We'd hardly argue with a medical specialist's professional opinion. But we've got numerous folks who've hurt their backs in the past for whom the solution was as I described above (the non-surgical one). A common sight when watching a group of our guys preparing for that days work is to see some who've injured back before to be buckling on back braces, then doing a daily flex and stretch routine (now required for all our people). When working you'll see them rather diligently following proper load handling procedures. This is re-enforced by the fact that supervisors are charged with the responsibility to enforce safety procedures. Can be fired for failure to do so. Also, periodically and in unannounced fashion members of our safety department, select managers, etc make surprise work place visits for the express purpose of looking for violations. They'll stop a person violating safety rules and issue a "ticket" and a warning. Repeat offenders are given a formal warning back at the main office with members of the board of directors attending. A violation after that and you'll be looking for a new job. Plain and simple. Likewise, a worker who has gotten injured on the job, and then does not follow procedural work rules designed to prevent repeat injuries or aggravation of the first injury. Who has to take more days off due to said injury or further injuries of the same nature faces a review. To determine his or her fitness to continue that type of work. IOW, the person may be looking for new employment. It's not meanness or stinginess on the part of the company. Its simple, you can either do the job and all of its requirements or you can't. And we certainly don't wish to contribute to a person possibly becoming completely disabled. Review is done by a special board of senior staff, plus a member of the State's Labor Board, plus a rep from the labor union if the employee is a union member. And professional medical opinions are gotten. We pay to have the person thoroughly checked out by doctors ahead of time, in order to get their opinions. If its found that its medically unlikely that the employee will ever be able to do his or her current job safely and adequately without excessive risk of more damage, OR that the employee simply has not followed the advice given him or her to make such possible (lose weight, or wear back brace and use proper lifting procedures, etc, etc). The employee will probably lose his or her job. If we have another opening of a job which the employee could do, that's offered. But the employee must qualify for that job the same as any other applicant. He or she is just given a "preference" over anyone else. Qualify and the job is yours, even if another applicant has better qualifications. But you HAVE to qualify. Net result, in most such cases employee becomes an ex-employee. Yeah, person can draw worker's comp, etc. But for our people that's a significant cut in pay. In most cases, if the employee can retain his or her job by following medical advice and safe work procedures, they do that. The majority do. For the few who won't? What can one say? You can't do anything for those who won't help themselves. Employees with weight problems that cause issues in their work lives? Our medical plan covers many options meant to help them. Plus the company has other programs in place, paid out of company pockets, to further help. A complete exercise facility is available, for free to employees. In addition we regularly, a few times a year, bring in hired consultants (dietitians, medical specialists, etc) and physical trainers to answer questions, give advice, help a person design a custom plan of action, etc. We have a fitness club that acknowledges, rewards, and lends support to those wanting to become more fit, lose weight, etc. Routinely in our in-house magazine one sees a picture of so-and-so and an article praising him or her for losing so many pounds, or achieving a goal of being able to run a 5 mile charity run, or for achieving whatever goal the person was wanting to do. In short, we provide every reasonable means we can think of and afford to help an employee. But ... they must want to help themselves and do the work or take the steps involved. Some simply will not. Not much we can do about that. The only mandatory thing we do is that morning, beginning of the work day, stretch and flex routine. Its on company time, takes no longer than 15 minutes, usually less. Since starting that program the incident of back injuries or injuries to other muscles and joints has decreased drastically. By around 60%. In any event, at least around where I live (Minnesota) I don't see doctors recommending surgical fixes for backs (or for excess weight) except as a last resort. A friend of mine injured his back on the job, and finally had back surgery. Three years later, after his doctors tried every other option available. Even then, they didn't recommend it, simply offered it as an option to try while warning that at best there was only a 50/50 chance of improvement. So it was a case of "You decide. Learn to live with things as they now are, or give surgery a shot. But we're not promising good results." In his case, it did help. But I know of several others where it did not. As concerns the option of losing weight by surgical means, I have a niece who went through that. Am very familiar with what she had to go through. Her doctor insisted that she go on a self imposed diet for 18 months ahead of time. Gave her a goal of so many pounds to be lost. Do it, lose it, or HE wasn't gonna do the surgery. Period. The reason? He'd seen too many patients who'd opted for the easy, fast way out (surgery). Who then went on to gain all the weight back, or even more. He simply wasn't gonna perform a useless procedure. And he felt it was useless unless the patient was truly dedicated to a lifestyle change involving adopting sensible eating habits and routine exercise. Chuckle, I attended a few of her visits to him with her and talked with him a bit. A good man, a good doctor. He'd been highly recommended by other doctors to my niece, who did her research before taking this step. He wasn't just some guy with lots of glitzy ads in magazines or on TV promising miracle cures. In fact he didn't advertise his services at all. And at one point told me personally that he'd been offered MORE money, and a lot of it, by certain people with lots of cash to spend to operate on them after he'd told em he did not consider them good candidates for that kind of surgery. That is, they did not follow his requirements for proving their seriousness in losing weight and keeping it off prior to the procedure. He felt that if the person lacked the will power to follow his advice long term, then it was all more than likely a waste of time to proceed. And he wasn't gonna cut on a patient, uselessly, for any amount of money. He didn't require that niece lose all the weight she wanted on her diet. She was quite heavy. He wanted her to follow a diet regimen he outlined (a modest, easy to follow diet). To take off at least 3 but no more than 5 pounds per month (on average over time) until she'd lost 30 pounds. Then do maintenance dieting just to stay at that new weight. (Slight fluctuations allowed, average over time used) She did as he directed, had the surgery. And followed his directions thereafter. Its been over 5 years now and she not only got the excess weight off but kept it off. She's not skinny, but that was never the goal anyway. She's within the limits for having a healthy amount of body fat. Changed her entire eating style. Oh, still eats some of her old favorites. Just not as much or as often. Plans much better, more healthy meals both for herself and her kids. And is generally more physically active. She's no exercise nut. Just quite deliberately gets up off ass more often and does something to move around. Takes walks, gets on the floor and plays with her youngsters more often, does a lot more house cleaning, goes out and does more lawn work than she used to do, takes stairs instead of an elevator if its just a couple floors, etc. Nothing drastic or extreme, just more general moving around. (She hates formal exercise, but her doctor said it wasn't necessary if she adopted these other ways to increase her physical activity) A side benefit, she used to have a lot of knee joint problems. Even had surgery for such once. But now they bother her very little.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

"However, if teh patient wants spinal surgery and states they cannot deal with the pain any longer, under the knife they go, whether with that doctor or another. They are paid privately and DO jump into surgery a lot faster than others in other nations do." This is probably a true enough statement. Certainly it occurs. Although, with what frequency or as what percentage of all cases I wouldn't hazard a guess at. No doubt one can find some web site that will give numbers for such. After all, with just a bit of searching on the Internet one can find sites that will offer numbers and asstatistics (statistical "proof" evidently pulled out of someone's a**) to prove almost any point of view about almost any subject one could imagine. The most likely real answer being ... no one actually knows for sure. But everyone has an opinion they're convinced to be true and actual fact. In any event, I don't dispute what you assert. Ummmm .... its called freedom of choice, isn't it? If it is your own money, honestly obtained, why shouldn't you be allowed to spend it any way you wish, on whatever you wish ... as long as its legal? Now I can not dispute your experiences, nor would I want to. I have no reason to believe you're less than honest. However, I and most folks I know in the state where I live (Minnesota), and in the immediately adjoining states are members of one or another Group Health Provider/ Association. That is, a private medical provider business, sometimes called "medical insurance". The particular provider I'm enrolled with is one of my choosing. I was free to select some other provider service, or could have rejected any of them and just settled for paying out of pocket as the need for medical services occurred. But as it happens the provider I use offered reasonable rates and coverage adequate to suit what I thought I needed for myself and my family. Actually they offered several plans of varying cost, depending on what you want, from modest coverage to pretty darned complete coverage. It certainly isn't cheap. I pay something like $800 a month for the policy. But given my income level, while I mentally say "Ouch" each time I see that deduction out of my paycheck, its not killing me financially. The coverage I selected is better than some, not as good as others. Some items are fully covered, for others they pay 80% and I cover the rest out of pocket. Up to a certain cut off in the total outlay I make out of pocket in a year's time and then anything above that the policy pays completely. Etc. Etc. I think its a decent plan and worth the cost to me. The plan also allows me considerable leeway to pick and choose precisely which doctor I want to use, which dentist, which clinic, which hospital, etc. The "Group" has a great many doctors, dentists, clinics, and hospitals signed on with them. So as long as I pick one from among that group, they're happy and will pay for the services without arguing with me. I could elect to get treatment/services from someone outside the group, I'm perfectly free to do that, but then I would either need to pay for such separately out of pocket. Or, I'd need to prove a medical necessity for that choice and convince the Group to pay up. Which can be done, I've done it. However, I am quite satisfied with the choices available. Have been using the same family doctor (general practitioner) for many years. Know him well, as well as his partners in their private practice. Also know their nurses, lab technicians, and so forth. Visits to that clinic are pleasant, the staff efficient and competent and friendly. And over the years I've come to trust my doctor's (and his associates) opinion and recommendations. Including who he refers me to when referring me to a specialist. Several hospitals are members of the group, over time I and my family have tried this one and that, have finally settled upon one in particular as our preferred hospital. Where am I going with this? Freedom of choice. I have a great deal of it. So do most folks I know. In any event, the Group does have a policy of attempting to keep costs as under control as possible. If they didn't, would have to charge me an even higher monthly rate. So its reasonable that they have rules and procedures with that aim in mind. So, for a member of the group to get a back surgery ... that'd be paid for by the group ... he or she would not only have to convince that person's doctor. The doctor/surgeon must also convince a review board at the group's headquarters that the surgery is justified and needed. Or they're not going to authorize the expense. Plain and simple. (The review board is NOT under the doctor's authority or control. It includes medically trained staff, licensed doctors, etc. When needed they seek out an independent specialist not affiliated with the treating doctor, and ask for his or her professional opinion.) Of course, one can just go ahead and have it done, find a doctor who'll do it. But you're gonna have to pay for it out of pocket. That's pretty much the way of things for the vast majority of us where I live. So what you assert is true enough. A patient could simply seek out a doctor willing to perform a surgery whose need is questionable. But for most of us that means a considerable outlay of cash right out of our pockets. And most of us don't have that amount of cash just laying around. So for the vast majority of folks where I live (since most are members of the same or a similar group health provider service as I am) if you're given back surgery, it's because your doctors are convinced it is the suitable course of action. And ... a review board concurred. That's not to say the decision was absolutely the right one, or the only good one. Doctors make errors in judgment. But in the type situation I describe, it'd have to be more than simply one person's error in judgment, it would have been several. And FWIW, doctors, nurses, etc who practice as part of a group health service provider must agree to accept the fees that the group will allow. That is, for each service a doctor may only bill for a fee that's considered reasonable and fair by the folks running the group health service. Or they'll not pay his bill. If he insists on charging more than they consider reasonable and fair, his association with that health services provider is canceled. You, as a patient and member of that health services group could continue seeing him if you wish, but you'll have to pay out of pocket. So, the doctor who has been our choice for seeing for many years, while he's doing quite nicely financially I'm sure. He isn't getting rich or raking in outlandish fees. Frankly, I like the fact that he's making good, decent money. He earns it. And I really don't want him making medical decisions concerning me or a family member while his mind is pre-occupied with and worrying about how he's gonna pay this months mortgage on his house. In his case, his income is not based on exorbitant fees and performing unnecessary services. He's not free to do that anyway. There is that review board looking over his shoulder always. Nearly all his patients are members of a health services group. His income is more dependent upon providing the best services he can, keeping his patients happy, so they'll use HIM next time. And the next and the next. After all, they don't HAVE to come to him, they can choose another doctor if they wish. So you've stated your experiences. And I've stated mine. It's likely that both views are correct. We've just had different experiences in different places.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I never said US doctors were dishonest or unethical at all. I just state dthat in my experience they are all to quick to jump on the surgery bandwagon. In teh case of spinal injury there are MANY very common methods of recovering from MOST back pain without surgery and these avenues are always explored. However, if teh patient wants spinal surgery and states they cannot deal with the pain any longer, under the knife they go, whether with that doctor or another. They are paid privately and DO jump into surgery a lot faster than others in other nations do. As for Americas I have oprated businesses there, have hired and given such employee benefits to staff (medical insurance of couse). I have been in US hospitals, seen US doctors, have had ot accompany many inured people to hospitals etc. ESPECIALLY back injuries. Working with lighting crews, back liners and riggers, they drop like flies when overworked and 99.9% of the time it's a back inury of some sort. In almost every case the guy would return to the arena or call from hospital saying he was discussing back surgery options with doctors. When I was in Oregon, I went in for a herniated disk, they wanted to operate on me also. I just got them to fog me up with AntiNox and went on my way, saw a specialist when I go tack to Canada, three weeks of physio and I was up and about again, a little slow and sore but mobile. In Canada and many other countries, taht surgery is not just a last resort it is a LAST resort. They will try an ddo everything for years before suggesting operations as they DON'T work as frequently as expected, in fact the reason they work more often is because they are often unnecessary and would have been resolved without surgery. If yuor spine is seriously damaged enough to mandate spinal surgery, chances are you won't recover fully anyway. If your back inury is minor enough that back surgery results in normal activity again, chances are it owuld have been resolved without teh surgery. Who told me that? Every spinal specialist I have seen for the last 27 years. And I've seen a LOT of them and asked almost everyone if an operation would stop the pain and get it behind me for once. I have three separate spinal injuries, all in varying complexity, none of them are seen as a reason for spinal surgery, not the Shewreman's disease that results in severe sciatica, the Scolisis that makes it very painful to lean over a counter to make more than one sandwich at a time, the degenerative disk condition that makes it feel like I am walking with bone against bone sometimes. These are al things that came on due to different injuries etc through my life and compound into one big pain in the back. The only pople who ever suggeste dback surgery were American doctors and even they admitted it usually doesn't work but MIGHT help. That couple dwith the cash my rother forked out for surgery that resulted in f-al, the counltess medical docs that say hwo rare it is to actually resolve such issues through surgery etc. Kinda make me shy away form the 'surgery will fix it if nothing else does' crowd. I was referred to a chiropractor by a US doctor workign in Canada, I explained that due to my spinal conditions that a chiropractor would wind me up in hospital. He assured me this was more like physio and not actually a back cracker. I again said that I preferred physio and my other spinal specilist told me NEVER to go near a chiropractr for several conditional reasons. After the paramedics got me off the table and into hospital for a week of traction, I was able to start going to physio to recover from the injury the chiropractor inflicted. Gotta love US docs, if you are a US doctor's wife.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Oz, of course I am not you and thus can not know your experiences in these things. So must take you at your word. All I can say is that you assert that you've "spent too much time in the US", seemingly to add weight to your opinion and experiences. Well, maybe you have spent a lot of time here. However, I was born here, and have spent most of my 60 years of life here. Minus some short periods of from a few months up to a year, here and there, when my military duties had me assigned elsewhere. And I can say that my experiences with the US medical system and its doctors has been SIGNIFICANTLY different than the views which you express. Is our system expensive? Yep, absolutely. Does it have some issues which need to be addressed and changed? Absolutely. Is the quality of care, results achieved, professionalism and expertise of the medical personnel horrible and inferior? Absolutely not. From the things you've asserted, I'd suggest that your methodology for selecting doctors could use some improvement. Perhaps you were going by advice given your by friends and associates? In that case I'd suggest changing whom you seek advice from. As concerns your assertion that back surgery is RARELY successful. That's simply not true, if you look up real factual data on the subject. Plenty of it is available. Its a frequently studied subject. Success of a back surgery depends on a number of factors. For instance, exactly what the problem is, severity of the damage, so on and so forth. One can not reasonably lump all back surgeries together as if they're all the same because they're not. Each technique and method is designed to relieve a particular type of damage or condition. For instance, if the problem is just a simple ruptured disc, a successful surgical fix is likely. However, its also often not needed since studies show that the majority of such cases will fix themselves over time or at least improve to the point that the patient can live with it. In fact one study I read about mentioned that thousands of patients were examined via extra xrays and MRIs that weren't really needed but which were done as part of the study. The patient group studied included both patients complaining of back pain and many who did not express any problems with back pain. And the results surprised doctors in that they found quite a significant number of the folks who did NOT seem to think they had any back problems, who in fact had some major spinal damage of assorted types. BUT ... it didn't seem to bother them or cause any excess pain. Doctors aren't sure why this would be the case. But I'd heard the same thing before from specialists, back before this study was done. More than once. In one case, it involved myself. I'd blown a disc badly one day. Egads !!! For a while there it brought tears to my eyes, and that's not easy. Take my word for it. Its not that I'm any braver or more macho than anyone else. Its just a simple fact that in my lifetime I've suffered quite a number of injuries, some extremely severe. As in I've had doctors surprised that I was still alive. Once, the doc was not only surprised that I was still alive, I walked in under my own power and argued with him that I didn't really need that gurney ride to the emergency surgery room, would rather just walk there myself. So Mr Pain and I are on a first name basis and I'm kinda used to him showing up and being around. But GAD, that blown disc hurt when it happened and for a few days after. Had me sweating and wondering just how badly I'd done myself in this time. Being the hard headed type and my natural "dumber than a rock" self, I refused to go to the doc. Took 3 days off work. Pampered self a bit, but also got up regularly and ... slowly ... helped the wife with housework, did some chores, etc. And kept doing some slow and easy stretches (I've always exercised routinely) trying to get the back muscles to loosen the heck up. By the end of the 3rd day there was definitely still a lot of pain, but less than it had been, and the back muscles weren't locked up tight any more. So I went back to work, just taking things easier at first than I normally would have. After a while, I virtually forgot about the back issue. Most times didn't bother me at all. But would occasionally ache and tighten up. Fixed by a little rest, a day of taking it easy at the physical chores, and some stretches. Its become a thing I don't think much about any more. Then one day, being my usual dumb-a**ed self, I managed to break my left foot, pretty danged badly. Complete breaks, not fractures, in 5 different places. "Ouch ! Dang it ! Now that was stupid of me, wasn't it?" Which is what I told my kinds at the time, who happened to be present when Daddy was being stupid ... again. ROFLMAO ! They got sort of used to it. Ran inside yelling at my wife, "Mom ! Dad did something stupid again and hurt himself. He's hopping around on one foot and the other one looks really strange. Did you mean it when you said we should laugh at him next time he was stupid? Can we? Can we?" Of course, she said, "Sure, go ahead. He almost certainly deserves it. And tell him I'll be out as soon as I'm done with what I'm doing to take him to the doctor. He can just wait til I'm done." Ahhh, my sweet, caring wife. Just gotta love her. BUT, WTH, I did deserve it. And listened patiently while my kids laughed at me. Telling them only, "Take this as a lesson, don't do as Daddy does, it might hurt." This incident didn't bring tears to my eyes, but I did chip a tooth from gritting my teeth so hard. Anyway, the wife made a call and arranged for me to see a bone specialist who made time to see me on an emergency basis. Slipped me in between regular appointments. This doctor and I were familiar with each other, I'd been there before. Net result was I got pins in the left foot (not that day, but after he'd examined it and announced it was as bad a series of breaks to a foot as he'd ever seen, I was scheduled for surgery a few days later). Which was okay as I already had pins in the right leg. So now I was kinda balanced out. Anyway, while I was there, my dear wife took advantage of the fact that I was in the doctor's office to inform him that I'd hurt my back a short while before this (a few months) and had foolishly, in her opinion, refused to have a doctor look at it. Said she wanted him to look at it now. She does this kind of thing. Knows I hate going to a doctor and generally won't unless forced to do so, or I'm afraid some part is actually gonna fall off or something. So if I DO end up in a doctors office, she always goes along and fills him in on all the past stuff she can think of which she thinks I should have gone to see a doctor for. I love her dearly, but sometimes she is a real PIA. So he looked, examined, quizzed me, x-rayed, etc. Then announced that indeed I had a severely herniated disc. Then asked how I was doing and whether or not I wished him to do anything about it. I told him I felt fine. But yeah, it bothered me sometimes. However I didn't think it required any sort of fix or anything. He agreed. And gave me a lecture about such things and mentioned the fact that a lot of people had damaged discs and other back problems which resolved themselves adequately, to their satisfaction, without any surgical fixes. Mentioned the fact that he'd seen numerous cases of two patients with virtually identical damage where one was virtually incapacitated and the other was hardly bothered by it at all. Said there were many logical reasons for this in some instances, plus cases he'd looked at where he simply had no clue as to why there was a difference between the impact upon two different patients. This particular doctor, BTW, is ranked up there in the top 10 best in the US in his specialty. He's very, very good. Used to work out on the east coast somewhere, New York I think. Decided that wasn't where he wished to raise his kids, relocated to Minnesota. I met him because back some 22 years ago my wife was involved in an accident (hit by a car) and had her back broken in two places. She couldn't walk for a year and was constantly on the equivalent of morphine. Local doctors thought there was no hope for any medical improvement for her. Several specialists looked at her spinal injury and refused to even try surgery. The damage being too bad and too tricky of a repair. Then this guy showed up, new in town. The others showed him her case files and he informed us that all he could do was try. BUT ... he thought he MIGHT be able to help. He estimated only a 25% chance of improvement, a 25% chance that her condition would worsen, and a 50% chance of no significant change. She'd been bed ridden for a year and decided to take the chance. The surgery worked. Kinda, sorta. These sorts of things depend upon how one defines success. Did he make her "like new". Nope. In fact he'd told her that wasn't possible. Short of a friggin miracle. But he did manage to make a fix that "improved" her condition. She's able to walk now. Has to wear a special brace molded to exactly her body contours, in addition to having the fused vertebrae. And some days she needs some pretty heavy pain killers. She can predict bad weather coming better than the weather guys on TV. But ... the pain is now bearable without having to take pain killers so strong that they befuddle her mind so bad she's acting like a zombie. And she CAN walk. Not well, not long distances. But she can walk. Something the others said could never be done again. And that's the crux of the matter when speaking of surgical solutions to back problems and whether or not they work. It depends on what you mean and how you define success. Do the majority of such surgeries result in a decrease in pain or disability? Yep, according to data I just looked up that's supported by the AMA and other reputable medical groups. Can such surgeries produce all the improvement a patient might want and demand and expect? Sometimes. Sometimes patients are looking for more than reality dictates. Are there surgeries done that aren't really necessary? IOW, could the same improvement have been achieved without surgical procedures? Yep, absolutely. The AMA and other professional medical groups admit that. And warns patients to actively seek alternate opinions and to do their own research before agreeing to any sort of back surgery. They say that some of the bad decision making to proceed with a surgical fix resides with the doctor. For various reasons. But also they note that some of the problem is with the patients themselves. In that some are told there are alternative treatments, but these will take time. Months to years. And some patients won't accept that, they're after ... and demand ... the quick fix. With some doctors, if a patient is demanding a particular treatment, one on the approved and accepted list for the condition in question ... they'll go ahead and perform that procedure if the patient demands such ... even if its not the choice that doctor would personally make and recommend. After all, it is an approved procedure, and if he or she doesn't do it, patient is free to go find someone else who will. This happens all the time. Its called freedom of choice, the ability to pick and choose. Its like last year. I had a tooth bothering me. Now that sucker had been drilled and filled in the past. A root canal had been done on it. Etc. Now between the shape of the tooth and its location, that sucker was a big PIA for me to try to keep clean, brushed, and get all the itty-bitty bits of stuff off. I've generally got good teeth. But that one b*stard has always been trouble to me. This time, when I went to see my dentist I told him to stop messing around, yank it. Of course, his opinion differed and he kept arguing about alternative courses of action. I quickly tired of that and put a stop to it. Got up off his dental chair, tore off the silly thing they put around your neck, marched to his receptionist's desk and told her I wanted all my dental records, now, in my hand, I was leaving and finding a different dentist. I'd find one who'd pull the tooth. Or pull it myself. Chuckle, the guy backed down off his position and changed his mind and pulled the tooth for me. Actually he's a good dentist, but young. And hasn't learned yet that (1) he isn't God or a dictator, (2) he doesn't know EVERYTHING, and (3) that its MY MOUTH, not his. LOL ... some doctors, and some nurses, develop what I call a God complex. As in think they are or think they're as omniscient. Not the majority, but some. I've little time or patience for such. They tend to dismiss your opinions, thoughts, or desires. And seemingly think theirs are the only ones which count or have any validity. Chuckle, but it is possible I'm just a bad patient. Its like the time I was in a hospital, having just had major surgery. 6 hours worth. I was opened up like a gutted fish. Woke up in my hospital room. Pretty darned sore. Hooked to all these tubes and monitors and such. Started to get out of bed to go take a pee, some alarm went off and I was surrounded by nurses insisting I had to stay in bed. Right. I informed em I was hurt, not crippled, and didn't much care for bed pans and such. I was going to the restroom, alone, thank you very much. Now get out of the way. They finally backed off but hovered around me like the nuisances they were while I made my way slowly, dragging the wheeled poles and such with bags of whatever dangling from them. When I was finally back in bed I asked one of em for coffee and was informed that I was allowed that. It was right there on the chart, it said "Clear Liquids", only. And in HER opinion, that didn't include coffee. They left, and I thought about it. Disabled their little bed monitor that would sound the alarm if I got up. Practiced walking around the room a big, dragging the poles with me. Once I felt steady enough (I was still a trifle woozy from the meds, or supposed that was it), I grabbed a wheel chair for a bit of support and started pushing it ahead of me as I left the room in search of coffee. Got as far as the front nurse's desk for that ward, where the nurses jumped on my case again. We had a few words, but in the end I explained they had two choices. Bring me coffee or get out of my way so I could go fetch my own. One said something about forcing me back into my room. I said she'd better go fetch some help because I didn't think there were enough of em there right then to do that. Would take more than just 3 or 4 nurses. LOL ... she turned red in the face and got all huffy. Finally one nurse, obviously with more common sense than the others asked me if I'd wait long enough for her to call the senior ward doctor, and then discuss it with him before I made my final decision? I allowed as that would be okay. He came and I explained. He looked amused and pointed to the far end of that hallway. "If you can make it on your own down there and back again, you're fit enough to have some coffee." So I hobbled down there and back, and he told me where they kept the coffee pot hidden, to help myself. Then he lectured the nurses about LISTENING to their patients, reminding them that the patients sometimes knew more about their own particular bodies than they did. I was glad he was there to set em straight. If I'd had to, would have gotten dressed as best I could and gone out to find a different hospital, or just went home. And frankly, wasn't feeling up to all that right at the moment. Would have done it, but wouldn't have enjoyed it. Was pretty dang sore and tender. The thing is, I think MOST doctors and other medical personnel are basically honest and ethical. Yep, sure there are bad apples in any group. So I'm not buying your assertion that all US doctors think only about the money. It doesn't fit my experience nor the experiences of most of the folks I know. We'll simply have to disagree.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Certainly surgery is a last resort but that decision is left to the patient not the doctor. I've been given almost ever alternate procedure you can dream up and even when I have asked abotu surgery myself it was quickly discouraged due to the failure rate of it. However, I have had numerous specialists from the US instantly recommend surgery as a solution. They feel thet when they have already used up all other options and don't know how to charge you again, they should operate and that's the final huzzah. Only problem is, such spinal surgery is not proven RARELY actually works and generally results in a degenerative spinal disorder. There are proivate doctirs in Canada now that DO perforn the same surgery on demand, at a resonable cost of around $6000.00 and in a day, out the next morning. HOwever, that surgery is also just a cash grab and rarely resolves the problem. If you don't recognize that US doctors jump at a chance to offer surgery and rake in some hospitalization dollars, you really don't understand the screwy, cash grab of a medical system yuo have in place. Sur eit's a last resort, that way they can bill for everythign else over a decade first, THEN they offer you useless surgery options. If they offered surgery right off, they can't cash in later. You are American, when yuo think DOCTOR think cash register KA-CHING! And then you'll be on track. I've spent too much time in the US, been to hospital and several doctors there and it's always the same, ka-ching!

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I was considering whether or not to point out Toni's error. But as I've read the responses in this thread I've seen so many BS assumptions, opinions, misunderstandings, misinterpretations, half-facts, etc asserted as if they were actual, provable facts ... that I decided that Toni's error/misunderstanding was so minor as to not be worth mentioning. I ended up knowing a lot more about things like BMI, causes of weight gain, the truths and myths about diet (and bogus fad diet) plans, etc, etc than I really wished to know many years ago. I spent a career in the military, more than half of which I spent as a senior enlisted man responsible for a lot of folks. Part of my duties was the testing and review of their physical fitness routinely, counseling them on possible correction methods, and/or sending em on to one of our military doctors for further evaluation, development of a correction plan of action that required more knowledge than I had, etc. I and others in my position were given formal training by our medical departments, not a lot, but the basics. As part of our jobs, besides all our other military duties, was to act as a sort of "first responder" for such problems. But to also recognize when we should send the person on to the medical department. Of course, part of the training involved being made aware of what BMI was ... and wasn't. It's a rough guesstimate ... that holds fairly true for more folks than not ... rather than being an accurate measurement of percentage of body fat. Chuckle, I note that on the CDC's web site on the subject that they first state that BMI IS accurate, but later on down the page admit that no, its not really. There are several factors that can throw the numbers off. Which is true based upon my many observations. And there were many when yah have 100 to 400 guys and gals working for yah whom you've got to test and evaluate periodically. And in the military, half those faces change in a 2 year period due to natural duty assignment rotation, and/or folks leaving the service and replacements showing up. BMI scales worked for most, not accurately maybe but close enough for all intents and purposes. After all, it didn't really matter if a particular guy scored 24 on the scale when, in reality he had only 18% body fat as measured in the water dunk tank. All other factors being equal. I wasn't interested in friggin beauty contests, ripped abs, etc. Was interested solely in establishing that it was LIKELY the guy could perform the physical demands of his duties, without dropping dead, injuring himself, etc. But I routinely ran across some small percentage of folks who seemed to have trouble maintaining themselves within acceptable limits, on their own, without some extra help. Be that a kick in the a**, or counseling, medical help/advice from a REAL doctor, etc. In some cases, the extra weight gain was easily resolved as to cause. Too many calories in, not enough burnt in daily activities. I liked those cases. Had an easy enough solution. Often, I could just counsel person, and he or she would take care of the problem on their own. Just needed a swift kick to remind em they could be dismissed from the service otherwise. Some others, same situation, had a bit more problem with the will power thing. That wasn't difficult either. If they REALLY wanted to stay in the service, at every unit I was stationed with, we had a "Fat Boys" club. Strictly voluntary. I'd advise the person to join that if they couldn't lose the excess weight all on their own. The Fat Boys Clubs offered more help. Unit doctor or other medical personnel were involved. They'd have person record their eating habits, eating preferences, etc over a period of time. (Truthfulness was necessary) And they'd offer suggestions for changes, modifications, etc. Workable diets, IOW. Fad diets weren't believed in or suggested. If a guy likes steaks, and its one of his favorite little pleasures in life, yah don't tell him he can't eat steak. Yah try to teach him to limit his steak eating to more sensible proportions and frequencies. Maybe teach him to eat a bit slower, so as to enjoy each bite longer, and to give the food already swallowed a chance to swell and give that "full" sensation sooner. Etc. For instance advising, "You like this kind of food? Okay, try it prepared this way instead of that, or try this alternative you might also like but which contains fewer calories." The medical folks would spend quite some time with the individuals trying to tailor workable diet plans for them. That is, diet plans the individual would actually adhere to long term and learn to live with. In addition to this, each Fat Boys Club had at least one, and usually several volunteers who'd lead the club members ... and motivate them ... in getting more fit. Let's face it, exercise is not something everyone enjoys. A lot of folks know they should get more, keep telling themselves they will do it, but long term ... fall a bit short on self motivation. So a Fat Boys Club leader helped with the motivation part. Chuckle, as in draggin guy out of bed an hour early if necessary so he'd have time to participate in the morning exercise period. Leading the exercise group himself. Keeping tabs of everyone's progress and giving out pats on the back, etc. Sometimes that's all that was needed. That little extra outside help every day with the motivation. For a great many of my "fat boys", the club worked well. The guys just needed that extra helping hand. I'll repeat, it was voluntary. If yah didn't want to join, or joined and then refused to participate regularly, that was your problem. If yah didn't meet standards, AND I saw you weren't even trying to help yourself. I'd get yah discharged, no problem. However, there were other cases that weren't just a matter of how much one ate in combination with amount of physical activity. For instance, a very good friend of mine had a career long battle with his weight and amount of body fat. He was constantly going into that "over fat" category. Not just as indicated by BMI, we had him tested in the water tank to get an accurate reading of his percentage of body fat. It was too high for our standards. He was taller than myself, much broader of shoulder and deeper of chest, more heavily muscled in shoulders, arms and legs (liked to lift weights). Ate less than I did, and we pretty much liked the same foods. And we got about the same amount of exercise each day. But he'd put on fat and I wouldn't. He never had to be put on a program, when he put on the extra fat he'd go through whatever necessary on his own to take it down again so he could pass the annual checks. But for him, it was a constant struggle. Genetics, I'm guessing. All other known physical causes were checked and came back negative. Except for the extra fat, you'd have a hard time finding anyone more fit. And he certainly got enough routine exercise, more than most folks. He was a Navy SEAL. I had another fellow who worked for me who, going by BMI, scored as "Obese". ROFLMAO. The guy was 66" inches tall, 200 pounds. BUT ... his shoulders were half again as wide as mine, his chest very deep and highly muscled, his upper arms as thick as my thighs. Big boned and VERY strong. I knew the BMI results couldn't possibly be accurate for him, sent him to medical to get the water tank test. LOL ... he came in as "under" fat. Too low a body fat for optimal health conditions. For those who do not know, too low amounts of body fat is NOT a good thing. As in, yah can get sick more easily, your body doesn't have the reserve energy to combat illness or injury, and in extreme cases ... yah can drop dead. In yet another case I had a female working for me who looked good. Geez, she was quite the looker in face and shape. NOBODY ever thought of her having a fat problem. She was newly reported to my unit. Had been assigned to some command job back in DC and I found out they'd not really been doing the fitness tests as they should. When I told her I needed her to take one she batted pretty eyes at me and said she really had some important business to take care of, couldn't I just "pencil whip" the results, fake it? After all, did she look to me like she had a problem? Chuckle, I was an old salt. A black-shoe, haze gray and underway, knuckle draggin, neanderthal type sailor. Plug ugly, and not fit for polite society. And definitely not SCUM ... Sensitive, Caring, Urban Male. Batting pretty eyes and wiggling cute butt at me is not an effective tactic. I just growled and told her I didn't care if she was God's right hand and her important business was saving the world ... DO IT (the test). She flunked. Oh her BMI score was okay, high but in limits. But I got a clue during the strength tests. Meant to show some idea of the percentage of muscle to total body weight. Her results were pitiful. Had her sent to the dunk tank and she came back right at the obese mark. It was just that her body fat was quite nicely and attractively distributed. In just the right places. With darn little muscle under it. In other cases, failure in getting a passing BMI score did result in my identifying folks who had an underlying medical problem that they didn't even know about. So BMI did help out some there. So it does have its valid and beneficial uses. You just can't take such as metric as being more meaningful than it really is. Its an indicator, nothing else. Could indicate you're just eating too much for your level of activity. Could indicate a real medical issue. Or might mean nothing significant whatsoever.

Magnet12
Magnet12

Terrible.This country is RUN by insurance companies and what they do not want to pay for.We have a country FULL of overweight children and adults.Just because the last few yrs.we have started pushing health issues does not erase 40yrs of McDonalds and BurgerKing.I am not over weight and have pushed healthy eating for my children but remember that lower income people eat more starches due to the price of fresh fruit,vegetables,fish and chicken.Overweight has been part of society for yrs,its not going away overnoght.At least now the pediatricians are making parents be fully aware of a child being overweight.My mother and brother could eat like a starving animal and not gain but I did not inherit this.Its something that needs addressed,yes,but not penalized by not working for heavens sake.Magnet

john.jelks
john.jelks

IT workers are exempt, by Federal and State laws, from getting compensated Over time and On Call. So all those unpaid extra hours we work leaves us PLENTY of time to hit the gym, go for a long bike ride, etc. http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/fairpay/fs17o_technicians.htm

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You're in the wrong discussion, you should be over here. edit: fix html

john.jelks
john.jelks

Read past the sarcasm in my last sentence. IT does not always allow for a healthy lifestyle because of the long (unpaid) hours spent working over time on call. I am able to control my diet, but daily exercise is a luxury for me. In the many data centers at which I have worked, half of the Hard Core IT staff is overweight because they work such long hours. Hope this closes the loop for you.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I could have been tired when I posted... There's a reason I prefer the end-user support role. Not only am I not tied to a desk, but I'm out walking/running/crawling/limbing around.

4ldh
4ldh

I am curious how one would even question the responsibility of an employer or the govenment for consquenses of the 20 plus percent of Americans who choose to be obease, as well as those who are carrying an extra 20 pounds. We all know the risks resulting from over-eating/under-activity. Expected social contract requires people to be aware of their responsibility to themselves and to the society that they choose to reside in. There is an argument that the parents are most likely the responsible agents in training young children to become obease and the schools who allow obesity to be looked upon as acceptable. I am aware that those born near or after the Reagan administration were trained to a lowered bar, to strive to mediocrity. The question here is when will this Reagan generation realize it's short commings, look back at what made America a great country, and, then maybe learn to become responsible citizens.

amyhays
amyhays

The problem is not all necessarily the individuals fault. If you read the posts in this discussion, you would find out there are diseases that cause obesity. They are also extremely under diagnosed in this country because everyone is taught by the companies selling weight loss products "that it's is all your fault but you can change it by using our product." If you don't believe me just look at the adds on this web page. Metabolism is something you are born with and there are metabolic diseases and diseases that affect the metabolic processes. This happens by family genetics and mutation. And with the prevalence in this country, I believe environmental toxins also may play a role. I know as I have one and have had it undiagnosed for 30+ years because of the exact lies that the you believe. This disease cost me my PhD at Cornell University because I got so sick there. I did my masters. The doctors didn't look past my obesity. Even though I was putting on 30 pounds a month while I hiked the hills of Ithaca to go anywhere (to class, to the grocery store, to town) because I didn't have a car. So your theory that obese people are just lazy is also NOT TRUE! I have been diagnosed and on the correct medicine (Thyroid hormone) the pounds come off faster then your head can spin with out me doing anything different. I lost 15 pounds in two weeks on the medicine and off the medicine I can gain it back just as fast all without changing my eating and exercise habits. So that just blows your theories about obesity right out of the water. Before you start mouthing off you might want to consider the employers responsibility to help get the proper health insurance coverage to help your people stay healthy. Because without that coverage they will never get the help they need. I would be dead in 10 more years if I hadn't been diagnosed properly with hypothyroidism. I finally found a doctor who cared to look and he help save my life. And he didn't listen to all the hype from the weight loss companies and the media. He cared.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]The question here is when will this Reagan generation realize it's short commings, look back at what made America a great country, and, then maybe learn to become responsible citizens.[/i] ...as their parents.

amyhays
amyhays

I thought this was the "Information age" and we were "enlightened" more then any other generation. We were some how wiser and better now then humans that have ever lived? WRONG!!!! People fear others that are not what they believe are "normal". And even with the so called analytical minds of the IT world, they can't look into a problem and really find out the issue or solution. Instead they want to believe stereo types and what they hear on TV and the movies so they don't have to think beyond their comfort zone. From this discussion I see that we are still no better then pack animals that leave their sick and dying behind to be eaten by predators. Funny thing about that philosophy every one ends up sick or dying sooner or later. So one day you will wake up to realize you are now one of them and all of a sudden you don't like the look from the other side. Obese people are not asking for charity only fair treatment. The health insurance industry and medical industry discriminates against them daily. All because there is a multi-million dollar industry that has preached false accusations for years. And exploits those who suffer. When ever you see a scientific journal article on obesity, you only hear that there are links/connections to other conditions. Never that it is the cause. The industry distorts that to make you believe it is the cause when they have no proof and unfortunately to many people believe what they are told instead of investigating. Because it's easier and they don't have to feel guilty about not caring. Why is it someone who skydives or plays football, or runs or cycles in the middle of the street are considered "healthier". When they are all engaged in "risky" behaviors and that is certainly by choice. Where with an obese person, you are making a judgment of them based on their looks and what you BELIEVE is true about those people. When in reality, metabolism and genetics can play a unseen vital role in someones appearance. And you have no idea what those factors are. You would be wise to kindly talk to them and find out what's happening. You might find a whole new world opens up.

melekali
melekali

...if I were an employer, I would forgo the portly in this atmosphere.