Mississippi is considering a bill that would make it illegal for restaurants to serve obese people. Any establishment with a permit to serve food, the bill says, would “not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health”—and if it did, the state could pull the restaurant’s permit.
Even if the bill is not expected to survive debate in the House, and is just “political theater,” it does evoke visions of a future with scales at restaurant doors, and kitchens keeping records of each patron’s body mass index. Is this what politicians really want? Sandy Szwarc at Junkfood Science contacted the bill’s lead author, Republican representative W. T. Mayhall Jr., to inquire about his intentions. Mayhall explained that he wrote the bill to “call attention to the serious problem of obesity and what it is costing the Medicare system.”