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The Once-'Thinnest State' in the U.S. Is Taking a Bold Stance on 'Fatphobia' in Housing and the Workplace The legislation would go into effect next year.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Colorado is set to enact legislation that prohibits discrimination based on weight, addressing "fatphobia" in workplaces and housing.
  • The initiative follows a pioneering law in Michigan, which was signed into law in 1976.
  • New York also has related legislation, and Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey are considering similar measures.

Colorado could be the next state to pass a landmark law outlawing weight discrimination, or "fatphobia."

The anticipated legislation, which prohibits discrimination based on weight in housing and the workplace, is expected to come into effect in 2024, per NewsNation.

Related: These Are the Most (And Least) Happy States in the U.S. 2023, According to a New Report

Up until 2021, Colorado was the "thinnest state in the U.S." with the lowest prevalence of obesity, per The Denver Gazette. That year, its estimated obesity rate jumped from 24.2% to 25.1%, edging just past Hawaii's 25%.

Still, Colorado residents remain some of the fittest in the country, due in part to ample access to trails, mild weather, and "a highly educated population churning and burning more calories at altitude," NPR reported.

Colorado's latest move is in line with recent legislative actions in states such as New York, which also enacted a similar anti-discrimination law. But Michigan led the way back in 1976 with the first law that banned weight-based discrimination as well as discrimination based on age and height.

Related: These Are the 10 U.S. States With the Happiest (And Unhappiest) Employees, According to a New Report

With obesity rates on the rise nationwide, the push to protect overweight persons from bias is gaining traction with consideration of related bills in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey.

The Obesity Action Coalition hails the move as a critical advancement in combating weight stigma, bias and discrimination, signaling a potential national shift in attitudes toward obesity.

"This is a huge step forward for us, and we really hope that this starts a grassroots effort across the US," Kristal Hartman, an activist with the Obesity Action Coalition, told NewsNation.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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