Europe’s highest court ruled last week that under certain circumstances, obesity can be considered a disability. The ruling came after a Danish man, Karsten Kaltoft, sued the local authority he was working for when he was fired. He claimed he was a victim of discrimination due to his weight.
How does the EU decision impact US policy -- if at all? In the US, over a third of adults are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Obesity is defined as any adult who has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. There is no federal policy that protects people from discrimination against obesity, although certain types of obesity are considered a disability in the US, and protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Should all types of obesity be considered a disability?
Christopher Conover, a Research Scholar in the the Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research at Duke University