Can't Get a Seat on the Bus? Blame the Fat People

Julie Ryan Evans

city busIf Americans won't get fit, let's just make the world fit their fat. That seems to be the general approach in our nation as meals are super-sized, clothes are vanity-sized, and now traditional transportation must be altered to accommodate our growing heft.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is considering upping its average size for a passenger when it comes to safety calculations. According to AOL, they want to change the average passenger weight from 150 to 175 pounds and the floor space occupied per standing passenger from 1.5 to 1.75 square feet. The result of such a move: Fewer seats on buses

They're doing it not to give people more room on said buses, which would actually be nice so the sweaty guy next to you doesn't overlap onto your lap, but instead so that buses don't get broken. That's right, America's weight problem is so out of control, we're in danger of breaking buses.

A representative from Metropolitan Development in Chicago told USA Today:

This change is really just a bow to reality. With no small number of bus passengers tipping the scale at 200 pounds or more, this is much more realistic.

The problem with all this fat accommodation is the fear that it will never stop. Remember those huge floating blobs of people in the movie WALL-E? Well, we're going to start seeing them everywhere if we don't stop.

I understand the many complicated reasons losing weight is difficult, but we also just can't continue to embrace it as our reality. A message from their physical environment that they're too big -- like, God forbid, making them buy two seats on a bus or airplane if they take up two seats -- may be hard for them to handle, but it's true. Changing the world to accommodate them isn't kind, and it's not helping them.

Another recent study says we don't even know that we're fat in many cases. It focused in particular on mothers and children, and found that many greatly underestimate their weight. Why? "A lot of their misperception has to do with the fact that overweight and obesity is becoming the norm," the study's lead author, Nicole E. Dumas, M.D., told CNN. My point exactly.

Yes, buses need to be safe, and I don't know that charging overweight people more money to ride the bus is necessarily the answer either. I do think we as a society need to find more ways to help people lose weight rather than to continue to lose our perspective.

Do you think the world should expand to accommodate fat people?

Image via Unlisted Sightings/Flickr

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