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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
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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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