John Burke, President of Trek Bicycle Corp decided to grace his audience of Chicago business people with his wisdom yesterday morning. According to Burke, obese people are bad for business what with their health insurance costs and all. He further asserts that his overweight employees shouldn’t be his company’s responsibility “Because seriously, if people don’t care about their health, why should companies be paying for it?” Aside from being incredibly callous, Mr. Burke clearly doesn’t understand obesity. A quote from this DNAinfo article demonstrates this: To help employees stay healthy and keep the weight off, Burke on Wednesday outlined the mandatory eight-step wellness program he recently introduced at the 1,000-employee company, which he said has “changed lives.” Maybe before making such comments Mr. Burke should read some of the pile of evidence about how fat-shaming people doesn’t work and can even make them gain more weight, such as this or this or this.
Dear Mr. Burke,
Being fat doesn’t mean I don’t give a shit about my health. I actually really wish I could afford to buy fresh produce all year. Even so, I like to eat pizza, I like drinking beer. I know that neither one of those things is particularly good for me, but WHY DOES THIS MATTER? See the thing about being fat is: it doesn’t guarantee you have adverse health effects. Actually, being conventionally thin doesn’t guarantee freedom from health problems down the line (heart disease, high cholesterol and osteoporosis to name a few). If you’d like further proof that obesity doesn’t guarantee terrible health and can be healthier than just being thin, read this article, check out this website, or watch this video. Being skinny isn’t a magic bullet any more than being fat is the cause of all ills. SorryNotSorry you have to provide health coverage for all of your employees.
I really liked my Trek, but I don’t know how I can stand to ride it when you think so little of me. Thanks for alienating me!