The needs of those with disabilities should be taken care of and we as a civilized society have the obligitation of letting these people live their lives without further and avoidable disadvantages. And being blind, deaf, having lost a limb or suffering from paraplegia is normally not a consicously self-inflicted act.
Is Obesity Then A Disability?
A Floridian Harry Potter theme park increased the size of seats in its rollercoaster, after apparently a good number of overweight or obese visitors complained to Universal, the company behind the park. These guests simply did not fit into the seats and couldn’t get the safety bar down far enough.
Does changing the seats send the right signal? There is a tough piece of wisdom given to many fresh psychological therapists and counselors, about wanting to help when help is not being asked for: If the potential patient doesn’t seek help, he doesn’t yet suffer enough. You can translate this to only seeking help when you realize yourself that you need it.
Let me illustrate this with the case of alcoholism: Some alcoholics get to the point where they can’t get or afford their drug themselves anymore and have to rely on a third person to fulfill their need. This person usually is at wit’s end about how to help the alcoholic, other than by keeping him barely functioning through providing his drug for him. Often they hope that the alcoholic will at some point realize what his drinking is doing to him and his loved ones, but as a neutral bystander we know that this only makes things worse and is a dead end. To really help the addict, the provider has to let him suffer from his condition.
Obesity is a self-damaging condition as well, whose yearly costs in health care actually surpass those of tobacco addiction. Yet we do our best to accomodate the obese in their, shall I say it, food addiction. From clothing stores selling sizes with so many “x” that they aren’t printed out anymore, just accompanied by a number, “9XL”, to dentists having chairs that can carry up to 1000 lbs.
Change Needs Inclination
Interestingly, in the theme park incident, there was a man who vowed to lose weight to fit into the ride’s seats and even started a blog about it. In the beginning he wrote:
This blog was created to chronicle my journey to get into shape and lose enough weight to be able to fit on the attraction Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey at Universal Orlando. In order to be able to ride, the over-the-shoulder restraint must click down three times. At the time of starting this blog, I was able to only get two clicks. I never really had the motivation to lose weight or change my lifestyle, so I’m excited to see where this will go!
After hearing the news about the increased seat sizes, he lets us know:
To me, this is fantastic news! Even though I have lost the weight to get the three clicks in a regular seat, I’m still at a size where it depends on how hard the ride attendant pushes the restraint. There can be times where I can ride it, and then I’ll get back in line and not be able to ride. These new modified seats, I’m hoping, will guarantee that I will ride everytime.
I invite you to wager where his motivation to lose further weight is now. Contrary to a paraplegic, he has the ability to change his condition. If he feels inclined to.
Picture © 2010 Universal Orlando Resort.