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An Unconventional Proposal in Mississippi

April 1, 2008

Some have ranked Mississippi as the most obese state in the union. Recently, Mississippi entertained, and then rejected, its House Bill 282, which would have prohibited restaurants there from serving food to anyone who is obese. The bill would have directed the state health department to provide restaurants with written criteria for identifying those deemed to be obese. It would also have required the department to monitor restaurants to make sure they are actually abiding by the prohibition.

The Obesity Action Coalition, based in Florida, campaigned successfully for withdrawal of the bill. It died in a subcommittee.

The sponsor of the bill, Representative John Read, a pharmacist and member of the House Public Health Committee, was candid to say that his purpose was to stimulate discussion. That goal may in fact have been achieved, but whether the discussion itself will have any effect upon obesity is unclear.