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Obese People Should Be Allowed To Start Work Later: UK Government Adviser

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A UK government adviser has said that obese people should be allowed to start work late.

Stephan Bevan, of the Institute for Employment Studies, said that businesses should provide more accommodations to their workers who carry excess weight.

More Accommodation For Obese Workers

Speaking at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Austria, Bevan said that allowing obese workers, who feel anxious about traveling on public transport, to arrive an hour later or to work from their home, could have a beneficial effect on their mental health.

He also said that obesity should be treated like other health conditions, which could help stop workplace discrimination.

"It can be working time, it can be having a bit of understanding that someone might need to turn up at 10 o'clock because they have trouble with transport or anxiety about transport," he said.

Bevan likewise said that obese workers should have the right to sue employers that failed to offer them jobs or promotion due to their weight.

"It's the same as if you went for a job and didn't get it because you were a woman," he said.

Most Obese Country In Western Europe

Bevan made the statement amid the obesity problem in the UK. Obesity raises risk for type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

A 2017 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed that the UK is the most obese country in western Europe. The OECD's Health at Glance report showed that nearly 27 percent of the population in the UK had a body mass index of 30 and above, which is considered obese. The report also said that obesity in the country rose by 92 percent since the 1990s.

A new study presented at ECO last week showed that the number of morbidly obese people in England, Wales and Scotland is expected to double by the year 2035.

"Our study reveals a worrying picture of rising morbid obesity across England, Wales, and Scotland that is likely to weigh heavily on healthcare systems and economies," the authors of the study said. Strong measures to reverse this future trend must be an important public health priority."

Not A Disability

Others are not amenable to and criticized Bevan's recommendation. Christopher Snowdon, from the Institute for Economic Affairs, described it as a ludicrous idea that he said can potentially create resentment against obese people.

He also said that being fat is not a disability and that most people go to their jobs by car, which does not justify the idea of giving obese people an extra hour to arrive at work.

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