Discount for Being Thin?

We are constantly surrounded by the epic American battle to lose weight. It’s all over the media, all the time. From TV shows to magazines to movies and more, it just won’t get out of our faces! Sure, there’s always been a pressure to be thin, but could being skinny actually save you money?

The answer is yes. In a bold new move, Whole Foods is offering a discount to employees (and maybe soon to customers?) based on BMI. Basically, the lower your BMI (body mass index) the better the discount.

The government has been trying to slim us down for years now. They’ve implemented taxes, such as the “junk food tax” in New Jersey and New York has banned trans fats in order to slim down our nation. I know these things are all for my own good, but how does this new discount measure up?

Is it a good idea to help those who are already skinny to stay skinny? Is it a better idea to help the overweight population slim down? Is it fair to discriminate based on weight at all?

There are some major benefits for the company itself to offer discounts to its already slim population of employees: healthier employees, fewer sick days, lower health insurance premiums, a better image for the company. But is rewarding good health just a politically correct way of trying to get their workforce skinny and keep their image in check? Do they think that having (and keeping) skinny employees will inspire their consumers to emulate their fit lifestyle… by doing all their shopping at Whole Foods?

On the other hand, doesn’t it make sense to offer the discount to their heavier employees? Wouldn’t this help them to lead a healthier lifestyle, and in that way become more aligned with the idealized “Whole Foods” way of living? Should there even be an issue to discuss at all? Should BMI ever come into the question when it comes to any form of discrimination (whether its denial of entry to a club or a simple discount)?

I applaud Whole Foods’ initiative to encourage healthy living among their employees, but I can’t help but wonder if this skinny discount is truly promoting good health or discriminating against the overweight.

What do you think?


Saturday Read: Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
Saturday Read: Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
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