Fight Over Fat

The Story and Dr. Phil's Opinion
Dr. Phil looks at lawsuits involving obesity, airlines and fast food.

Roberta claims that McDonald's is responsible for her 13-year-old daughter's weight problem.

Sam Hirsch has filed three lawsuits against fast-food corporations. "They're throwing bigger and fatter and greasier stuff at kids all the time," says Hirsch, who is calling for labels and warning about their products.

Roberta, a single mom, says fast-food is economical and convenient, and that toy promotions aimed at kids make it even harder to get her daughter to eat healthier.

"Do you really need a label to know that a double cheeseburger and fries could make you fat?" asks Dr. Phil. "Is anybody forcing you to buy this for your child? Arguing that it's the seller's fault that you're driving to the restaurant up to twice a day is not a good argument in trial!"

Though some people may consider the lawsuits frivolous, they raise important issues: What are we eating, and do we have proper disclosures on the foods that we eat?

When Gary got to the Southwest Airlines ticket counter, he was informed that he would need to buy an additional ticket because of his size. "This was the first time in a long time that I had really been ashamed," says Gary.

Gary had called the airline beforehand, got the measurements for their seats, and checked to make sure that he could fit. "I felt discriminated against," he says. "I'm a big guy, I know that. But I do fit."

When Dr. Phil's undercover cameras were rolling, Gary had no problem purchasing one seat on Southwest. "I don't understand how they could be so inconsistent," says Gary, who has decided not to sue over this incident.

In a separate incident, Phillip is suing Delta for being seated next to an obese man. "We were like Siamese twins for two hours," says Phillip. "I've got nothing against large people, except when they're in my seat."

Phillip wants to use the 17 inches of airline seat that he paid for. Dr. Phil sizes up the situation: Have you put yourself in someone else's shoes? Would you like it if someone got a measuring tape out and started measuring your butt at check-in? On the other hand, he says, it's a matter of personal responsibility and accountability.