Obesity is a disease – not a choice billboard incites the drama llama

I'm placing my no longer obese arse firmly on the fence for a moment.


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Chicago Sun-Times

"A Northwest Indiana hospital that erected billboards with the message “Obesity is a disease. Not a decision” is facing a backlash from people offended by the signs’ suggestion that obesity isn’t a lifestyle choice.

The staff for St. Mary Medical Center’s Healthy 4 Life weight-loss program expected that some people would disagree with the signs that started going up in July in Lake and Porter counties.

But director of bariatric services Lorri Field said no one expected the angry phone calls or emails from people saying they were offended by the signs’ message about obesity’s root cause.

“I didn’t expect such an ugly debate. It’s almost like an ugly tone,” she said.

The billboards are part of Healthy 4 Life’s marketing campaign for the Hobart hospital’s weight-loss programs. They feature the image of a scale in addition to the “Obesity is a disease” message.

Winfield resident September Vawter lashed out at the weight-loss program’s message in an email she sent to the hospital. She feels strongly that obesity is the result of lifestyle choices.

“There is no disease that causes your body to drive to McDonald’s to go get some fries. There is no disease that makes your hands unwrap a candy bar. It’s all habits,” her email said."

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