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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 01:17:15 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Some further questions on the Permissability of Obesity Aviva Fee (v29n33) asks whether there is a prohibition against obesity the same way there is a prohibition against smoking. Some related questions are --If you are obese are you halachically obligated to lose weight --Does the OBESE person have a status of a non-endangered sick person (A practical application would be exemption from eatening traditional fattening foods on Shabbos and Yom Tov such as pastries and cakes) --If you know your friend is obese are you violating LIFNAY EVAYR (putting a stumbling block before the blind) by giving your friend fattening food As to the actual prohibition against obesity unfortunately it is not like smoking. For smoking is ITSELF an act. Obesity is not an ACT but an ATTRIBUTE of the act of eating excessively for a long period of time. You cannot say that an individual act of overeating is prohibited (the way an individual smoke is) because eg if you have been working alot you might need the extra food. Consequently there is no point in time at which you can point your finger at a meal and say 'That is prohibited' Thus I think the real questions are whether the obesity must be undone once it is there, whether you can serve the obese person etc. In passing, I note the fact that the AMA (American Medical Association) has recently revised its defintion of obesity: A person is obese if their BMI (Body mass index) is above 25.There is enormous statistical evidence that BMI above 25 (indepedent of any other factors) correlates highly with many diseases. The formula is BMI = 705x[Weight in pounds] / ([height in inches] x [height in inches]) It is an excellent rule of thumb and guideline. Currently over 50% of Americans are obese Russell Hendel;Moderator Rashi is Simple;http://www.shamash.org/rashi