If you're overweight in Alabama, you better start getting in shape or the government is going to start charging you fees!
That's the case for their over 37,500 state employees. The state government is giving all of their employees one year to start getting fit.
If not, they're going to be charged $25 a month, basically to pay for insurance which is otherwise free.
It's similar to the legislation they already have where they charge employees that smoke a fee of $24 a month. Though that resulted in some success in getting people to quit smoking.
But it's going to suck if Alabama thinks you're too fat and smoke too much. Double the fees!
This will be the first state ever to charge overweight state workers who don't try and slim down.
Why can't Alabama be proactive like other states and just reward those employees that "adopt healthy behaviors"?
Alabama is the currently the second most obese state in the country. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.3% are now obese. But is this the right way to go about things?
Just this week, the State Employees' Insurance Board approved a plan to charge state workers if they don't have free health screenings starting in January 2010.
And if those screenings show that there are any serious problems with obesity, cholesterol, blood pressure and the sort, employees will have one year to see a free doctor and enroll in a wellness program.
If not they can take their own measures to improve their health. But if they don't show any progress in a follow-up screening, they'll have to start paying the fee starting the following year.
Anyone found with a body mass index of 35% or hight, or who is not making progress, will be considered obese and be required to pay up. A BMI of 30% is what's considered "the threshold for obesity."
Robert Wagstaff, a state employee that serves on the insurance board, says" We are trying to get individuals to become more aware of their health."
Many employees are not too thrilled with the decision.
College professor and founder of a body acceptance workshop, E-K. Daufin, says "I'm big and beautiful and doing my best to keep my stress levels down so I can stay healthy. That's big, not lazy, not a glutton and certainly not deserving of the pompous, poisonous disrespect served up daily to those of us with more bounce to the ounce."
What do U think?
[Image via WENN.]