National Eating Disorders Association Weighs in on Proposed Airline ‘Fat Tax’

Newly Proposed Rates Formula Discriminates and Encourages Disordered Eating Among Those Already at Risk 

NEW YORK CITY March 28, 2013 For Immediate Release — The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is strongly opposed to a recent proposal that airlines charge passengers based on their body weight in order to reduce fuel cost. 

The three “pay-as-you-weigh” models being suggested are calculated on total weight including: 

  1. Luggage and body weight.
  2. A base fair plus fee for being over limit or discount for being under limit.
  3. A high/low average base price with a surcharge and discount for any variances.  

The proposals were conceived by Norwegian economist Dr. Bharat P. Bhatta and recently published in the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management.

Commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, “This is a misguided policy suggestion that attempts to account for fuel cost, but completely fails to account for the human cost of stigmatizing people with larger bodies. Dr. Bhatta clearly has no knowledge of eating disorders. Body shaming and weight discrimination are already too common and, sadly, not being addressed in a society obsessed with body image. We know that people who are demonized for their size often attempt dangerous dieting behaviors that put them more at risk for disordered eating and, ultimately, eating disorders. Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses and yet this recommendation would encourage a special discount to a person sick with anorexia, while taxing a healthy person of larger size.   People are not freight and proposals like this only reinforce the need for national non-discrimination protections and policies for physical attribute variations.”

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit  

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Or Contact NEDA’s Live Helpline:  800-931-2237 

Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (EST)


Greenleaf & Associates — 323-660-5800 

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