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Why Citizens Medical Center is wrong to deny obese employees

A hospital in Victoria refuses to hire obese employees: Stephen Green, Jessica Furdock square off


Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 03:04

The hearts of many South Texans weigh heavy due to a decision by one medical service provider to stop hiring obese employees.

The Citizens Medical Center in Victoria is requiring all employees to have a body mass index score of less than 35, which is considered moderately obese.

According to the Texas Tribune, an employees’ physical appearance “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional,” and be “free from distraction” for the patients.

What a bad move. The centers’ reasoning is so that they can push healthy lifestyles onto their patients. The logic doesn’t make sense.

Patients won’t look at their nurses and have a sudden epiphany about a healthy lifestyle. This is much in the same way that going to the gym and seeing beefed-up personal trainers doesn’t aid in behavioral change.

In addition, it’s blatantly discriminatory. According to data from the Center for Disease Control, in 2009 Victoria had a population that was listed as 30.4 percent obese. They are once again cutting brains for beauty.

BMI is not a measure of intelligence. The mind is the most beautiful and intriguing of the human species…no matter what the weight is of the body in which it rests. It could be said that the center is turning away perfectly qualified and brilliant potential employees because of logic with no depth.

John Beck commented on the Tribune article that echoed several Victoria residents’ sentiments.

“Are they planning to turn away obese patients too?” Beck said. “Or, maybe the next step is to discriminate against sick people.”

According to the hospital policy logic, seeing obese people causes a reaction in others to either become, or remain, obese themselves.

David Brown, hospital CEO, is making an assumption that obese people make other people get fat. This is an example of post hoc, ergo propter hoc, a Latin term used to describe one situation that is falsely said to cause another. On the flip side, non-obese persons do not cause obese people to get thinner.

It’s also harmful to employees who were grandfathered into the system. No employees have yet to be fired, but they are experiencing professional harassment.  The hospital is offering help to those employees that exceed the BMI level.

It’s hard to imagine going in to work every day and knowing that one’s employer disapproves their body image. That has got to be mentally stressful, not to mention destructive.

It’s reckless of the hospital to waste the potential of the human mind for such frivolous and down-right destructive beliefs. Instead of forcing this ideology on their employees, they should offer incentive bonuses to employees that keep their BMI below certain levels, such as a bonus or a free vacation at the end of the year. People will respond to the good.

It’s time for talent to outweigh body-size, not only in this hospital, but in businesses across the country.

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