- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 2014

The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture expenditure is to dole out $17,500 in grant dollars to give students at New Mexico State University an idea of what it’s like to be overweight, using so-called fat vests.

The “weight sensitivity training” is part of an “empathy exercise,” the Washington Free Beacon reported. The money will be spent on providing 20-pound vests to thin people to wear in order that they might experience the not-so-thin life.

“Weight prejudice (a.k.a. anti-fat prejudice and weight bias) is the presence of negative beliefs, attitudes and behaviors toward individuals who appear to be overweight or obese,” states the grant given by the National institute of Food and Agriculture, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The text for the grant says that bias against the overweight has risen by 60 percent over the past decade and has reached the same level as reported instances of racism and gender discrimination, the news outlet reported.

The goal of the project, in part, is to foster tolerance via an “experiential empathy exercise in which a 20-pound fat vest will be worn by participants for a minimum of 12 consecutive hours,” the grant text states, according to the Free Beacon.

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