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Alabama 'Obesity Penalty' Stirs Debate

Plan Calls for State Employees to Pay More for Health Insurance if They Don't Lose Weight

Ethical Issues of Penalty Proposal

Still, she does question certain ethical aspects of these actions.

"Do I have any privacy interests in my body weight?" Creighton says. "I'm just glad my firm doesn't require me to hop on a scale."

While the converted are often the most zealous agents for change, one Alabama resident who triumphed against the scale finds the state requirements somewhat troubling.

Enterprise, Ala.-resident Roger Shultz, this year's runner-up on the NBC TV show The Biggest Loser, nearly cut his formerly obese physique in half while appearing on the show. Shultz, who lost 164 pounds, has kept his 6-foot-3-inch frame at a lean 222 pounds since the show ended. He's now a spokesman for Scale Back Alabama, a state-sponsored campaign that promotes weight loss and exercise.

Keeping trim in Alabama is sometimes challenging: "We deep-fry everything," he tells WebMD. But instituting fines for failing doesn't seem like the right step to him.

"I worked for a state institution and I'd hate to see something monetarily taken away from me," says, Shultz, who was employed at two Alabama colleges. "We have to be healthy, but I don't think you should penalize people for being heavy."


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