Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A Weighty Problem

I was struck by an observation about hotel facilities on the Tripadvisor web site recently: the reviewer commented on the size of the baths in the particular hotel in that any women who took a dress over size 12 (UK) and was over 5’ 5” inches tall would have difficulty getting into the bath. I think that was an exaggeration since, having stayed in that hotel myself I had no trouble getting in or out of the bath. Being a man, I am not sure what dress size I am, but I weigh about 70kg and am about 5’ 9” tall. But I grant you, the baths were not designed to accept anyone who was seriously obese and that may be because the building and facilities were designed and built in the 1970s.

I suppose, though, that with the increasing prevalence of obesity, the leisure industry does need very seriously to take this into consideration, not least to minimise the need to call the fire brigade to lever out of the bath any unfortunate guest who had become stuck.

The hotel in question is in the Canary Islands. It does occur to me (from what I observed) that the percentage of large holiday makers may be greater there than for some other destinations: at least a half of my fellow passengers on the return flight were what we doctors, in the pre-PC days, would call obese. Of these, a quarter were what we would call morbidly obese. Four had to be lifted on to the aircraft in wheelchairs although whether that was because they were so seriously affected by their weight that they could not carry themselves I have no way of knowing.

And there was a perversity in this: through my own fault my bag was 3kg in excess of the permitted 20 kg, and the airline charged me 10 euros for each excess kg. I observed that the lady sitting next to me and, as a consequence of her size, squashing me somewhat, was probably a good 20kg heavier than her doctor would consider ideal. But I’ll bet they didn’t sting her for 200 euros for fear of being accused of being discriminatory.

The aircraft did seem to take a very long time taking off. But we got there in the end thank goodness.