Is Obesity A Disability?

Is Obesity A Disability?

There are many participants who have always argued that obesity is a disease. However, this debate goes one step ahead and discusses whether obesity is a disability? The highest court in Europe has ruled that obesity “can constitute a disability.” It comes as a shock for the various companies and businesses that will now have to treat European overweight employees as ‘disabled.’ They will get all the special benefits granted to disabled people including special parking spaces, larger seats and other facilities to accommodate ‘disability.’ Do you agree with Europe’s court decision? Is it fair to call obesity a disability?


• Anything that obstructs the human’s ability to work is called a disability, and obesity leads to non-productivity in many cases.

• Obesity is linked to diseases. It might not be a disease but is the reason that leads to several other diseases including disability.

• Obesity results in various other problems in humans including high blood pressure and diabetes. These are the factors that in many cases lead to paralysis. So, indirectly obesity is disability.

• The ruling came as one of the employees in Europe was sacked as he was overweight. If the employers can sack employees on being obese, the employees have to opt for other way round.

• There are several surgeries and treatments available to cure obesity. If obesity is not a problem, why the medical world even cares to bring in such treatments?


• It is not justified to equate overeating or under exercising with blindness or cerebral palsy or paraplegia. It is the mockery of term ‘disability’.

• In no way, obesity can become a hindrance in complete functioning of body. The speed can be slow but then it is also applicable to non-obese people.

• There are many people who are obese because of their own lethargic lifestyle. How can such people demand of disability benefits?

• The people with disabilities don’t have a choice but obese people have the options to reduce the weight and live a normal life.

• Calling obesity as a disability will encourage helplessness in obese people which will further lead in hopelessness.


It is important to analyze the issue in all aspects. Just because obese people cannot do certain tasks they cannot be termed as people with disability. It indicates that we reject a moral equivalence between obesity caused by overeating and lung cancer caused by smoking. It indicates justifying the accidents where drivers were drunk. These people and majority of obese people are architects of their own misfortune. They select to be obese and therefore, calling them as ‘disabled’ is unjustified.
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  • RE: Is Obesity A Disability? -Deepa Kaushik (12/23/14)
  • Obesity should be ideally categorised under disorder. It is the condition where people do accumulate excessive amount of body fat. This might be a reason for various diseases, but obesity in itself is the in-orderliness of the normal body fat deposition.

    Disability on the other hand is the condition of being unable to perform any work due to any impairment prevailing in the body. Obesity is due to the body tendency to accumulate fat and this is not necessarily due to any impairment. Though we cannot deny the fact that the obesity could be a outcome of some derangement of the body tissues. Still, calling obesity as a disability would not be very much appealing.

    Talking of the European judgement regarding obesity as a disability, we should also analyse the reason behind the same. It should be viewed as a hassle between the employers and the employees. When the employee can be sacked for being obese, then it is definitely debatable that the person should have been given the additional benefits of being a differently-abled person.

    We cannot take this decision for the universal implementation as the scenario requires to be well analysed that plays in the background. Talking in general, it would not be very apt to categorise obesity as a disability.