Study: Obesity adds $190 billion in health costs
From Reuters: NEW YORK — U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.
The nation’s rising rate of obesity has been well-chronicled. But businesses, governments and individuals are only now coming to grips with the costs of those extra pounds, many of which are even greater than believed only a few years ago: The additional medical spending due to obesity is double previous estimates and exceeds even those of smoking, a new study shows.
Many of those costs have dollar signs in front of them, such as the higher health insurance premiums everyone pays to cover those extra medical costs. Other changes, often cost-neutral, are coming to the built environment in the form of wider seats in public places from sports stadiums to bus stops.
The startling economic costs of obesity, often borne by the non-obese, could become the epidemic’s second-hand smoke. Only when scientists discovered that nonsmokers were developing lung cancer and other diseases from breathing smoke-filled air did policymakers get serious about fighting the habit, in particular by establishing nonsmoking zones. The costs that smoking added to Medicaid also spurred action. Now, as economists put a price tag on sky-high body mass indexes (BMIs), policymakers as well as the private sector are mobilizing to find solutions to the obesity epidemic.
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Is this a 2008 presidential election electoral map? No, but the confusion is understandable. This is a map of obesity in America for 2011.
The seven states with the highest level of obesity all voted for McCain by double digits while the seven least obese states voted for Obama by double digits (with the exception of Colorado). Not surprisingly, the seven most obese states are all in the top 10 most unhealthy states while the opposite is true of the least obese states.
Why are the fattest states also the reddest? Is this the GOP’s model for America? Is it their goal to fatten up the populous so much that they are dependent upon that new Diabetes medicine they just invested in? Sounds cynical, but if you follow the money in politics, it is not far from the truth.