Obesity Bias:
The Bias We Don’t Want to Talk About

Arin N. Reeves
July 2015

Obesity remains one area where bigotry won’t go away.

In 2011, St. Mary Medical Center of Northwest Indiana advertised its weight-loss and bariatric surgery services through a series of billboards that boldly stated: Obesity is a disease. Not a decision.

The hospital expected to spark a debate on obesity, but it was not prepared for the outrage and anger that the billboards provoked. People argued that obesity was a choice, not a disease, and that the hospital was doing a disservice to the community by normalizing obesity instead of encouraging healthy dieting and exercise.