Whole Foods offering better discounts to fitter employees - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 65 Old 02-04-2010, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/0...ght-video.html

What do you all think about the article and CNN video?

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#2 of 65 Old 02-05-2010, 02:26 AM
 
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Didn't read the article but heard about the policy and I think it is completely discriminatory. I think it's yet another example of a crazy level of moralism that blames obese or overweight people for the problems with our healthcare system and tries to absolve our system of any responsibility.
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#3 of 65 Old 02-05-2010, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But you can't deny that obesity is associated with increased health problems. So the logic would follow that non-smoking, skinny employees are cheaper to insure.

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#4 of 65 Old 02-05-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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I actually think it's nice. It's an incentive program, nothing that says you have to join it if you don't want to.

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#5 of 65 Old 02-05-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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But you can't deny that obesity is associated with increased health problems. So the logic would follow that non-smoking, skinny employees are cheaper to insure.
Drinking alcohol is associated with increased health problems. Living in a poor neighborhood is associated with increased health problems. Stressful jobs are associated with increased health problems. Not working out and being out of shape - regardless of your bmi - is associated with increased health problems. And the list could go on and on. Should all these people be penalized? It's significant that it's weight that people go after - it's become a culturally acceptable scapegoat.

Rather, we should look for social solutions to these issues. Everyone should have access to affordable, quality, nutritious food. Companies should offer gyms or gym memberships for their employees. People should be given humane working hours and conditions so they have time and energy to spend on eating well and working out and spending time with one's family and pursuing one's passions. And healthcare should be a right that everyone is entitled to regardless of their personal failings. Some people can't quit smoking; some drink coffee non-stop; and some are overweight for a myriad of reasons, some within their "control" and some not. We should have an attitude of helping people in a non-judgmental and non-moralistic way, not penalizing those who fail to be perfect in a world that's incredibly imperfect and difficult to navigate.

Plus, it's not just a perk. Everyone used to get these discounts and now they're differentiating it based on weight.
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#6 of 65 Old 02-05-2010, 07:47 PM
 
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But you can't deny that obesity is associated with increased health problems. So the logic would follow that non-smoking, skinny employees are cheaper to insure.

Not necessarily. I know a lot of skinny people who eat nothing but crap fast food and some of them are prediabetic and they don't work out at all. They just have great metabolism. I have a very slow poor metabolism and are overweight, but I work out 4+ hours a week and eat an organic high produce gluten free dairy free diet with very minimal processed foods (all of which is organic).

Skinny doesn't equal healthy. Wasn't Britney Murphy really thin...she also died recently from pnemonia, anemia, and a combination of OTC medications.

I think it's great Whole Foods is encouraging healthy choices. But I think they're being a bit black and white about the matter. Someone who is overweight but actively taking steps to improve her health (such as eating right and exercising) shouldn't be given a better discount than someone who is naturally thin but gets drunk, eats at McDonalds several times a week, takes a ton of OTC meds for everything, and sits on the couch all day but just happens to have a great metabolism.)

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#7 of 65 Old 02-05-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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Not only that, but I think it's ironic that they are making healthy food choices more accessible to people they deem as healthy and less accessible to people they deem as at risk for health problems. Uh, yeah.

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#8 of 65 Old 02-06-2010, 12:13 PM
 
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i don't know, i have mixed feelings about it, but even a 22% discount is pretty good i think.

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#9 of 65 Old 02-06-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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This policy is ridiculous, discriminatory and just ugly. I will likely never again set foot in a Whole Foods.

http://lefarkins.blogspot.com/2010/0...thism-and.html (The link has the studies and stats.)

Quote:
In terms of BMI, the Whole Foods discounts correlate with increasing mortality risk.
BMI is not a measure of health. It's not a real measure of anything. It is junk science. If it meant something, why is there no floor? Severely underweight people are prone to very damaging and long-term health issues, but they would receive the greatest discount. How does that make any sense?

Also, athletes by and large are the most expensive employees to insure---runners specifically are huge drains on health insurance policies. Why aren't they being punished with less of a discount?

This is completely an anti-fat policy set up to encourage their employees to fit a particular aesthetic. It has nothing to do with health.

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#10 of 65 Old 02-06-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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Is there a link to a study that shows that runners are draining the healthcare system more than those who are overweight? My DH and I are runners and in the last 10 years I've been to the doctor once because of running because I sprained an ankle. My DH has been there once for knee issues that he's had for over 25 years. Compare this to people we know who are going to massage therapists, back and knee specialists, etc. because their extra weight is causing serious back and knee issues. Or, add up the amount of money for BP or cholesterol medication or insulin and I'm sure there's a huge amount of excess cost. I do admit I could see where athletes are more expensive to insure because they are more likely to go in for yearly physicals and take preventative measures (like physical therapy at the onsest of symptoms) to help stay healthy.

I agree that the BMI system is not perfect, but it is a way to measure - they could evalutate everyone's body fat % along with BP, etc, and go off of a whole physical but people would probably highly object to that as well. I don't see why there is such an issue for providing a discount to those who meet the criteria - at least they are providing a discount to people at all and trying to help provide some sort of motivation to have a healthier workforce. I do however agree that if someone who does not qualify can prove they are exercising and working to live a healthier lifestyle that they should be provided with a discount.

And just to note, there are instances where this type of discount is flipped - at the gym I belong to, if your BMI is obese or higher, you qualify for a program that gives you multiple months of access to dieticians and personal trainers and other specialty seminars - 80% covered by insurance. For those of us 5-10lbs overweight there is no discount for any of those services/packages. I also have sat on many plane flights where I am unable to use an armrest (or either one) because the people next to me are spilling over into my seat, and sometimes I can't even get out to use the restroom - I don't get a discount because I can fit in my seat (I recognize the size of those seats is most definitely on the smaller side of things). There are also many resources provided by lots of companies to help employees stop smoking, seek counseling, stop drinking, etc. I think it's great those services are provided and I think they are wonderful programs to help those that ant it, but I am not offered any discount on anything because I don't smoke, etc.

In general we live in a culture where people don't care where their food comes from, they don't want to have to take personal responsibility for health, for multiple reasons people don't get out and move/exercise, and aren't mindful of their health until there's a problem. I certainly don't consider myself to be discriminatory against those who are overweight - I have plenty of family members who are so; and I don't discount that some thin people are not so healthy (my father for one). I just feel that it's ok for a company to take standardized numbers (knowing there's a flaw in every system) and try to promote getting into a healthy weight range.

I don't feel I need to have a discount for 'doing the right thing' with my lifestyle, though it drives me nuts that there's always a discriminatory label thrown on a program that benefits people are are deemed healthier.

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#11 of 65 Old 02-06-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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Their logic is flawed since skinny people can often be very unhealthy (and they do eat unhealthy) and their dietary recommendations are flawed too:

Quote:
Whole Foods has also recently taken to giving prominent display in their stores to books from leading plant-based diet advocates, such as John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, John Robbins, Neal Barnard, Caldwell & Rip Esselstyn, and others.
"Plant-based diet" won't work for a lot of people to lose weight and many people don't think that plant-based diets are healthy either. The explanation is that many people think that in order to lose weight, you need to be on a low-carbohydrate diet, and eat a higher (healthy) fat diet at the same time, because eating too many carbs causes weight gain and the healthy fats are needed to keep you satiated, thus you'll eat less. A plant-based diet is typically a high-carb, low-fat diet, which will end up causing weight gain for many people. Especially because these plant-based diets tend to advocate "whole grains" and grains for many people cause weight gain.

So, I think its a bad incentive program.

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#12 of 65 Old 02-07-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post
Drinking alcohol is associated with increased health problems. Living in a poor neighborhood is associated with increased health problems. Stressful jobs are associated with increased health problems. Not working out and being out of shape - regardless of your bmi - is associated with increased health problems. And the list could go on and on. Should all these people be penalized? It's significant that it's weight that people go after - it's become a culturally acceptable scapegoat.

Rather, we should look for social solutions to these issues. Everyone should have access to affordable, quality, nutritious food. Companies should offer gyms or gym memberships for their employees. People should be given humane working hours and conditions so they have time and energy to spend on eating well and working out and spending time with one's family and pursuing one's passions. And healthcare should be a right that everyone is entitled to regardless of their personal failings. Some people can't quit smoking; some drink coffee non-stop; and some are overweight for a myriad of reasons, some within their "control" and some not. We should have an attitude of helping people in a non-judgmental and non-moralistic way, not penalizing those who fail to be perfect in a world that's incredibly imperfect and difficult to navigate.

Plus, it's not just a perk. Everyone used to get these discounts and now they're differentiating it based on weight.

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#13 of 65 Old 02-07-2010, 05:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dawningmama View Post

Also, athletes by and large are the most expensive employees to insure---runners specifically are huge drains on health insurance policies. Why aren't they being punished with less of a discount?
I'd also like to see more evidence of this - for me personally in the last calendar year, it's probably a wash, because although running has helped me lower my cholesterol and has been very beneficial for my asthma, I did get treated (with physical therapy) for an exercise-related tendon problem.

Over time, though, I'm more likely to live a long life because of my increased fitness levels.

ITA that skinny =/= healthy, and that fat =/= unhealthy.

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#14 of 65 Old 02-08-2010, 07:33 AM
 
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Their logic is flawed since skinny people can often be very unhealthy (and they do eat unhealthy) and their dietary recommendations are flawed too:



"Plant-based diet" won't work for a lot of people to lose weight and many people don't think that plant-based diets are healthy either. The explanation is that many people think that in order to lose weight, you need to be on a low-carbohydrate diet, and eat a higher (healthy) fat diet at the same time, because eating too many carbs causes weight gain and the healthy fats are needed to keep you satiated, thus you'll eat less. A plant-based diet is typically a high-carb, low-fat diet, which will end up causing weight gain for many people. Especially because these plant-based diets tend to advocate "whole grains" and grains for many people cause weight gain.

So, I think its a bad incentive program.
Do you have any links to this info? It sounds interesting.
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#15 of 65 Old 02-09-2010, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Someone who is overweight but actively taking steps to improve her health (such as eating right and exercising) shouldn't be given a better discount than someone who is naturally thin but gets drunk, eats at McDonalds several times a week, takes a ton of OTC meds for everything, and sits on the couch all day but just happens to have a great metabolism.)
I agree completely, but when a company is making a program (like schools with testing), they need something objective and easy to measure.

Quote:
A plant-based diet is typically a high-carb, low-fat diet, which will end up causing weight gain for many people. Especially because these plant-based diets tend to advocate "whole grains" and grains for many people cause weight gain.
Granted, this is anecdotal, but I disagree completely. For me, I've always been skinnier when I follow a vegan diet than when I don't.

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#16 of 65 Old 02-24-2010, 11:06 PM
 
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I think it's great personally.My health insurance gives me a discount for going to the gym 50x a year. I like incentives to keep me on track personally.
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#17 of 65 Old 02-24-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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Not only that, but I think it's ironic that they are making healthy food choices more accessible to people they deem as healthy and less accessible to people they deem as at risk for health problems. Uh, yeah.
exactly. backwards logic.

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#18 of 65 Old 02-27-2010, 01:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ThereseReich View Post
Their logic is flawed since skinny people can often be very unhealthy (and they do eat unhealthy) and their dietary recommendations are flawed too:



"Plant-based diet" won't work for a lot of people to lose weight and many people don't think that plant-based diets are healthy either. The explanation is that many people think that in order to lose weight, you need to be on a low-carbohydrate diet, and eat a higher (healthy) fat diet at the same time, because eating too many carbs causes weight gain and the healthy fats are needed to keep you satiated, thus you'll eat less. A plant-based diet is typically a high-carb, low-fat diet, which will end up causing weight gain for many people. Especially because these plant-based diets tend to advocate "whole grains" and grains for many people cause weight gain.

So, I think its a bad incentive program.

Eh, My plant based diet averages 35% fat. Plus I've lost 80 pounds on it. Many people do think that eating carbs leads to weight gain, but they are wrong. Eating too many calories leads to weight gain.

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#19 of 65 Old 02-27-2010, 01:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dawningmama View Post

Also, athletes by and large are the most expensive employees to insure---runners specifically are huge drains on health insurance policies. Why aren't they being punished with less of a discount?
Sorry I have to call BS on this, unless you can show me a link to a reputable study?

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#20 of 65 Old 02-27-2010, 02:47 AM
 
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They are offering an incentive to those people that don't meet the criteria but are still trying-- you get points based on how many times you exercise a week and get a cash pay out based on those points, all on the honor system. They also have to use the guidelines imposed because it is a combined program with the insurance company, what other criteria would be more accepted? As far as them making healthy foods less available to the people (employees) that need them most-- they offer numerous programs to all employees that would make these foods more available.
No employee loses any benefit for not meeting the criteria, they just don't get the "bonus" points. Everyone still gets the original discount.
It's a shame that a company tries to make changes for the better of all and they are accused of discriminating.
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#21 of 65 Old 02-28-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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I love Whole Foods and this makes me love them more. They seem like a great company to work for!


Runners: I'd love to see that evidence. I think the one time I've gone to the doctor in the last five years for breathing issue (not really running related, but I might have ignored it if I didn't want to keep training) cost far less than a daily dose of cholesterol, diabetic, etc. pills.

The big picture: They aren't the only company doing stuff like this. Many large companies have lowered the cost of healthcare coverage significantly by urging/rewarding employees who are healthier. I will look for the NY Times article.

Vegetarians: I think grass fed beef, free range chickens, etc. are a great option. I also know people who hunt deer, turkey, etc. However, by and large the meat industry in this country is producing meat human should not eat. Limiting meat is a good option.

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Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post
Drinking alcohol is associated with increased health problems. Living in a poor neighborhood is associated with increased health problems. Stressful jobs are associated with increased health problems. Not working out and being out of shape - regardless of your bmi - is associated with increased health problems. And the list could go on and on. Should all these people be penalized? It's significant that it's weight that people go after - it's become a culturally acceptable scapegoat.

Rather, we should look for social solutions to these issues. Everyone should have access to affordable, quality, nutritious food. Companies should offer gyms or gym memberships for their employees. People should be given humane working hours and conditions so they have time and energy to spend on eating well and working out and spending time with one's family and pursuing one's passions. And healthcare should be a right that everyone is entitled to regardless of their personal failings. Some people can't quit smoking; some drink coffee non-stop; and some are overweight for a myriad of reasons, some within their "control" and some not. We should have an attitude of helping people in a non-judgmental and non-moralistic way, not penalizing those who fail to be perfect in a world that's incredibly imperfect and difficult to navigate.

Plus, it's not just a perk. Everyone used to get these discounts and now they're differentiating it based on weight.
I don't mean to be offensive, but this seems over the top.

(I'm sure Whole Foods would fire a drunk.)

I work out quite a bit and eat very healthy food. My kids rarely, if ever eat junk food. I shop at Whole Foods for the most part currently.

We are not wealthy! We make many sacrifices to do this. I don't buy clothes, tons of toys, etc. We pass up a lot to spend money on these things. We spend quite a bit of money on swimming lessons for the kids, bikes, running shoes, races, gym memberships, bike classes etc. We also spend a decent amount of money on food. I'm sure we get far less for our money at Whole Foods than we would at a traditional store. However, my kids aren't exposed to tons of junk at the check out, we don't end up grabbing chips, empty bread, etc. so we save money on those things.

It would be awesome if somehow our social system were revamped and everyone was nurtured back to a healthy weight, but it doesn't seem realistic. In the meantime, it seems perfectly acceptable for businesses to do it. They are driven by the bottom line, which is fine by me.

If you want to get angry at someone, get angry at our government for subsidizing all this stupid corn and soy that is processed and thrown into so much. The insane amount of pesticides they can use on these crops is destroying wildlife too.

Whole Foods is certainly not the enemy here!

In Defense of Food and pick up Food, Inc. from Redbox (only $1). They are pretty reader/viewer friendly. Has anyone seen these?
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#22 of 65 Old 02-28-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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I LOVE this.
As PPs have said, it just makes me love WF more.
The most generous discounts are awarded to folks with 24 BMI...just below overweight for women. I don't see how "obesity awareness" groups can object.
Way to go Whole Foods.
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#23 of 65 Old 02-28-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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I think it's dumb, discriminatory, and cements conviction not to shop there. As others have said, amid other things, it's completely backwards to give discounts on healthy foods to those people who are perceived by the management to need it the least. They might like to market it as an "incentive to get healthy," but it really screams that their obese employees (as well as others being targeted) are not worth as much as their "healthy" ones.
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#24 of 65 Old 02-28-2010, 10:02 PM
 
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I think it's dumb, discriminatory, and cements conviction not to shop there. As others have said, amid other things, it's completely backwards to give discounts on healthy foods to those people who are perceived by the management to need it the least. They might like to market it as an "incentive to get healthy," but it really screams that their obese employees (as well as others being targeted) are not worth as much as their "healthy" ones.
No one is saying that people with a lower BMI need or deserve to save money more than those with a higher BMI. For heaven sake, the highest level of savings goes to folks with a BMI of 24. The lowest level of savings is to folks with a BMI of 27...significantly overweight.
I'm 5'6". At a BMI of 24, that's roughly a size 10.
Being overweight carries significant long term health risks. There's no debating that.
Why are folks upset about this program?
It's taking into account the epidemic of obesity in our country and setting a very achievable benchmark.
Everyone who works at WF gets the same health plan but those who make the effort to achieve a minimal level of fitness are rewarded for their efforts.
What's the problem?
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#25 of 65 Old 02-28-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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Why are folks upset about this program?
It is discrimination. It is an invasion of privacy. It is a value judgment that I find offensive.

There are unhealthy people that are thin and healthy people that are overweight.

I have always valued WF for how they treat employees. This just sucks.
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#26 of 65 Old 02-28-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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No one is saying that people with a lower BMI need or deserve to save money more than those with a higher BMI. For heaven sake, the highest level of savings goes to folks with a BMI of 24. The lowest level of savings is to folks with a BMI of 27...significantly overweight.
I'm 5'6". At a BMI of 24, that's roughly a size 10.
Being overweight carries significant long term health risks. There's no debating that.
Why are folks upset about this program?
It's taking into account the epidemic of obesity in our country and setting a very achievable benchmark.
Everyone who works at WF gets the same health plan but those who make the effort to achieve a minimal level of fitness are rewarded for their efforts.
What's the problem?
There are a ton of reasons already listed in this thread, and i agree with all of them. Do you need further clarification about any of them? (That's not a snarky question. I really want to know if you're not understanding people's objections, or if you disagree with them.)
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#27 of 65 Old 02-28-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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I wanted to add that the obesity thing is an issue, of course, but the cholestol level and blood pressure are even more disturbing to me. Both of these can be hereditary and can be very difficult to overcome.
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#28 of 65 Old 02-28-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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There are a ton of reasons already listed in this thread, and i agree with all of them. Do you need further clarification about any of them? (That's not a snarky question. I really want to know if you're not understanding people's objections, or if you disagree with them.)
I have not seen a compelling argument that is based on fact and not emotion for why this is "discriminatory".
Based on this incentive plan, no employee at Whole Foods is denied benefits. The employees who maintain a minimum level of what is considered healthy are rewarded.
24 BMI is NOT that unrealistic. WF is not asking its employees to look like Kate Moss.
On the contrary, they are rewarding their employees for maintaining a BMI that is slightly healthier than my own.
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#29 of 65 Old 02-28-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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The employees who maintain a minimum level of what is considered healthy are rewarded.
BMI is not a measure of health.
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#30 of 65 Old 03-01-2010, 12:54 AM
 
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This new program at Whole Foods is horrible and completely discriminatory! Time to boycott.

1. BMI is BS. BMI doesn't account for individual differences in muscle mass and bone mass. Two people of the same height and weight have the same BMI even though they could have vastly different quantities of body fat.

2. The program assumes that being overweight or obese is a choice, and that people can easily change their body shape. Study after study has shown that diets don't work, and a very small minority of people manage to keep weight off that they have lost. The program assumes that it's nothing but laziness that keeps people overweight, and all they need is a kick in the butt from their employer.

3. The program assumes that being thin is always healthier than being overweight, which is simply untrue. Underweight people have far higher death rates than overweight people.

4. The program is classist because the fattest people are usually the poorest people who have less time, money, and access to healthful foods. Many of the poorest people live in what are called "food deserts" where there is no food except fast food--no grocery stores. Wouldn't these people need the discount the most? So they can eat more healthfully?

5. The program is simply size-ist. It's simply not right to discriminate against people for how much they weigh.
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