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Whole Foods’ New Health Incentive (Lower Discounts for Fat Folks) Causes Controversy

Whole Foods’ New Health Incentive (Lower Discounts for Fat Folks) Causes Controversy

Whole Foods is now offering higher discounts to non-smoking employees who have low cholesterol, normal blood pressure, and healthy weights. Smokers, heavy-set employees, and/or those with high cholesterol and blood pressure will be fired, fined, beaten, and thrown in a store dumpster.

No. Actually, they’ll just continue to get the regular 20 percent discount. In fact, the plan is voluntary. Workers who sign up for it will receive free health screenings and be placed  in one of four categories. Employees in the platinum category will receive a 30 percent discount, those in the gold category will earn a 27 percent discount, and workers in the silver and bronze categories will get 25 percent and 22 percent discounts, respectively.


Personally, I hope other companies will take similar measures to give people an incentive to adopt healthier habits. While some Whole Foods’ employees surely purchase the store’s low-fat vegan items or have other healthy habits, many simply need the work and don’t necessarily adhere to the company’s healthy “philosophies.”


With the current health-care crisis in America, we should encourage non-smokers who maintain a healthy weight and safe cholesterol and blood pressure levels. In fact, I previously wrote a post explaining why I believe that healthy vegans deserve discounted health insurance. People who eat plant-based foods, which are cholesterol-free and generally low in saturated fat, are known to have lower rates of many diseases.


Certainly, there are many medical conditions that aren’t diet-related and don’t involve lifestyle choices, but Whole Foods’ plan focuses on those that are. In short, it rewards employees who make healthy choices and gives those who do not another reason to do so—while not “punishing” them if they choose not to.


However, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance is outraged at Whole Foods’ new program, as are some Whole Foods customers and employees. They feel the program rewards people who are naturally thin and discriminates against heavier people. But while the plan is intended to help employees slim down–and lower the company’s healthcare cost; weight is not the only factor that determines the discount rate.


Some people have  also criticized Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey for opposing President Obama’s healthcare plan. In an op-ed  in The Wall Street Journal, Mackey pointed out that many of the nation’s health care problems are “self-inflicted” and encouraged Americans to eat a vegan diet.


As far as I’m concerned, it simply stands to reason that Mackey should encourage his own employees to make healthier choices.

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6:21PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

6:20PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

you dont believe me? this.....

6:19PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

i hate whole foods.......better trader joes or fairway supermerkets.

6:18PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

not to mention john mackay doesnt want me to have healthcare and instead maybe hes suggesting that i spend my money on his company so that we dont need healthcare.....what a retard.

6:17PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

i will start shopping at whole foods when whole foods stop being deceptive about where their food comes from.....because their organic label 365...comes from china !!!!!!!

6:16PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

its downright discriminative !!

what happened to my civil rights?

my money, my time, my cigarettes.

just plain discriminatory

2:32PM PST on Feb 8, 2010

Thanks, great article for all.

5:14AM PST on Feb 5, 2010

I suppose this is a good encourages the employees to eat better. But, then we should all take a good look at our eating habits. This country is becoming way too obese!

8:34PM PST on Feb 3, 2010

thanks for sharing.

11:04AM PST on Feb 2, 2010

I agree with Regina Bode's statement. There are many people who will be 'overweight' no matter how they eat or exercise. Healthy body weight is not the same for everyone. If everyone doesn't have the same chance at the goal, it is unfair to reward those whose genetics give them an advantage.

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