Penalty in the pay packet for being overweight?

August 31, 2008 by  
Filed under Drugs & Medication, featured, Health

It is often said that where the US leads the UK follows, but a disturbing trend has just hit overweight workers in the state of Alabama. It sometimes seems that the US produces more than its share of fanatics in all areas. I am not a smoker, or in favour of it on health grounds, but I also believe in the right to choose and reports of people having cigarettes struck out of their mouths or being unable to smoke anywhere just don’t sit right with me. There has been moves to curtail health services for people who are overweight, and I understand the logic but the US state of Alabama is taking it to a whole new level. Alabama already charges workers who smoke — and has seen some success in getting them to quit, but now are turning their attention to overweight workers. The state currently ranks second in national obesity rankings partly from a fondness for by deep-fried Southern food favorites and a high consumption of sugary drinks and foods. Currently they get free health insurance as part of their job, but unless they agree to free health screenings to show up health problems, and then adopt measures to improve them, they will have to pay a $25 monthly insurance fee from their salaries.

If the screenings turn up serious problems with blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose or obesity, employees will have a year to see a doctor at no cost, enroll in a wellness program, or take steps on their own to improve their health. If they show progress in a follow-up screening, they won’t be charged. But if they don’t, they must pay.

As we already have a free health service, there isn’t the same incentive to adopt such drastic measures here – but some form of restriction of service for those who persistently abuse their bodies through food, alcohol or drugs is not that unlikely, and is informally in place in some hospitals already.