This somewhat circuitous essay by Jay Bhattacharya caught my eye. Bhattacharya is an M.D. and all-around policy wonk at Stanford University's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. (Great name!)
Don't be put off by the offhand judgments Bhattacharya seems to be making early on; the essay becomes more thoughtful as it goes along. His basic premise: obesity is not a public health crisis because it's not contagious, harms only the person him or herself and not others, and, maybe, is not under an individual's control. He makes an interesting point about why fat workers earn less money than thin ones (not because of prejudice, he argues, but because employers "pass through" higher health costs to fat employees); according to Bhattacharya, only fat workers with health insurance earn less. Among those without health insurance, there is no wage gap.
Interesting, but I wonder if the real reason is that the kinds of jobs that don't come with health insurance are so poorly paid that there's no room for a wage differential. Twenty percent less than $20 an hour is significant; 20 percent less than $5 is less so.
The best paragraph in the essay is the last, where he makes a compelling case against setting public policy after jumping to conclusions. Worth a read.