Jennifer Vallor


"Bigger is better." This old adage rings true for paychecks and televisions but not pant size. Now, some lawmakers and courts seek to protect obesity under disability law. Obesity currently plagues 35.7% of Americans and 29.2% of Tennesseans, and it is growing at epidemic rates. However, the "bigger-is-better" argument rings false in this instance considering obesity's severe complications and side effects. In the same vein, more people are also considering the consequences of obesity in the workforce, in health care, and in the medical profession. Indeed, tackling the issue of obesity demands sympathy because of the stigma and stereotypes associated with the condition, including the thoughts that obese people are lazy, unintelligent, or lacking in self-respect. In a society that is highly focused on appearance, the outlook for combating these stereotypes seems gloomy. However, while compassion is a must, legal protection under disability law is not.