World Ending, Fat People’s Fault

It’s amazing what fat is used to justify. Besides the increased health risks associated with obesity, we’re told fat people harm national defense, make global warming worse, and decrease workplace productivity.*  The “Oh, but we need to do something about obesity!!!” is trotted out to sell organic foods, free range foods, Whole Foods, books, TV shows, spas, beauty products, workout systems, clothing, fat camps, school-based “interventions”, workplace “wellness” programs, and so on.

Now, some physical fitness instructors in Denver are upset that private property owners and city parks don’t want to have their open space used rent-free for fitness classes. And what is one of the justifications?

[I]n a country battling obesity and high rates of heart disease and diabetes, they say, governments should be doing everything possible to get people up and moving.

Note this dispute isn’t about a specific “anti-obesity” program.  This is about small businesses using public parks, or even privately owned areas open to the public, to offer private fitness classes.

Obesity isn’t the actual story.  The story is a clash between those who enjoy taking or offering open-air classes and those who’d like to enjoy the park without them.  It’s also about small businesses that want to offer classes  without having to rent space and the need for the parks to be available to all.*  The “but we need to fight obesity, heart disease & diabetes” is thrown in as an appeal to the public interest.   Why? Because being fat is assumed to be bad, to be wrong, to be against the public interest.

This is probably not how the writer intended it.  And yet.

*It’s assumed, of course, that all fat people get sick more often.  That said, it’s interesting to note that office equipment that fits the worker can improve productivity.

**”People will still be able to get together to play Frisbee or soccer. But if money changes hands, said Jeff Green, a Denver Parks spokesman, ‘you need to have a permit.’”







3 responses to “World Ending, Fat People’s Fault”

  1. Susie Kline Avatar

    Here’s my favorite line:
    “Nobody needs any discouragement to get active and healthy. If somebody can put their shorts on and get out the door, people should be clapping.”

    Unless you’re fat and people don’t want to look at that! lol

    Nice try, business owners, to get something for free for your profit.

    Maybe the parks could issue license with fees based on the cost of classes. That would prevent the pricing out problem.

    Seriously, if fat people are used as an example for anything else today, I’m gonna scream!

  2. Twistie Avatar

    You know, you can do all sorts of things on public property IF YOU GET THE PERMITS TO DO THEM.

    You can’t hold a wedding in a public park without getting a permit, and that’s a one-day event. Holding regular classes should certainly require a permit. I don’t care if it’s a course in fitness or in painting or in navel gazing. If you’re doing it in a public space for private money/gain you have to pay your dues for it. And before the permit is handed out, consideration should be given to how it’s going to affect the regular activities already happening in the park.

    My neighborhood park recently added some fitness equipment to the space, which is nice for those who want to use equipment to exercise and don’t want/can’t afford to go to a gym. But they also have open green areas and benches. That means people can walk their dogs, sit and read a book, lay on the grass, or do a few impromptu yoga stretches, too, if they so desire. A class doing mass exercises is pretty disruptive to my decision to sit on a bench and read a book. It means someone can’t walk their dog, a group of kids can’t just start a game of frisbee or touch football, and nobody can watch the squirrels just doing their squirrely thing.

    Nobody is stopping anyone from using parks to exercise in. Nearly every time I go to my neighborhood park, I see someone jogging or power walking. But there’s a big difference between someone jogging the path and thirty people doing aerobics.

  3. sleepydumpling Avatar

    You know what this is about? They don’t want to pay rent to run their business. They want free tenancy, and they think that by going OMGTHEMMMBESTIATYKRIZESSSSS they’ll get rent free tenancy.

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