Boris Johnson claims classifying obesity as a disability 'insults those who are truly disabled'

Remark comes after EU ruled obesity can be considered a disability in some cases  

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The Independent Online

Boris Johnson has said it is ridiculous to class obesity as a disability during a Twitter Q&A, claiming it insults those he described as being "truly disabled".

His remark came after the EU's highest court ruled that obesity can constitute a disability in some cases in a controversial ruling on workplace discrimination.

The Mayor of London was asked: "Should obesity really be classified as a disability?" by Twitter user Michael Comninos in an #AskBoris session.

He responded: "It is totally and utterly ridiculous to class this as a disability. It is an insult to those who are truly disabled."

The outspoken Mayor was criticised by some for his "absurd" stance on the issue. Others were less convinced, highlighting cases of obesity caused by health problems.

However, Johnson also found many agreed with his claim that obesity was not a disability.

The binding judgment by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is designed to protect obese employees from discrimination at work because of their weight.

It came after a man claimed he was sacked four years ago after 15 years of working for his employers because he had become too large.

Judges at the EU Court of Justice said any long-term impairment caused by obesity, such as mobility problems, should be protected under disability laws.

Jill Tipping, the CEO of Hoop UK, a member-led obesity charity, told The Independent tweets about obesity such as the one published by Johnson could be seen as a "double edged sword". 

"On one hand it can create waves and increase the existing stigma surrounding obesity  - something that we are endeavouring to break down," she said.

"But on the other hand, if we focus on the ruling itself, it does create awareness as to the daily challenges  - emotional, mental, social as well as physical - that the obese person has to overcome to function in our society.

"Not only does it flag the disablement of obesity but it also highlights that many struggle with issues like depression and anxiety which are in themselves disabilities, but they also can lead to obesity."

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