America’s Physical Growth is a Waistline Issue

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • The facts:

    • Heavier individuals are forcing US hospitals to swap out wall-mounted toilets for sturdier (and larger) floor models.
    • Heavier individuals are forcing the Federal Transit Administration to test buses and make sure that they can handle an impact with the extra weight on board.
    • Heavier individuals are burning an extra billion gallons of gas this year in cars and other usages, compared to last year.
    • Healthcare costs related to obesity have exceeded the costs associated with the health consequences from smoking.
    • Insurance premiums have gone up for everyone to cover the increased costs related to heavier individuals.
    • With economists putting a price tag on obesity, and mostly the non-obese shouldering the costs, the incentive to halt and reverse the epidemic is now front and center.

    The US Healthcare Reform Law of 2010 gave employers the right to charge obese employees between 30% and 50% more, for health insurance contributions, if they refused to engage in a wellness program to attempt to improve their health and lose the excess pounds.  Statistics also confirm that for every normal weight person who gained enough weight to be categorized as overweight now, another overweight person became clinically obese.  So the upward weight trend is occurring among all of us.  Other proven statistics and facts:

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    • Obese workers miss more workdays than their normal weight counterpart.
    • Obesity affects quality of work because of shortness of breath, pain and other obesity-related issues.
    • The cost of the loss of quality work effort is said to be around $30 billion yearly.
    • Obese men rack up an addition $1152 yearly in medical spending.
    • Obese women earn 11% less than their normal weight counterparts.
    • With modern medicine able to treat all the associated chronic illnesses associated with obesity, patients live longer and add costs of “disease of old age” like cancers and Alzheimer’s disease to their staggering healthcare costs.


    New Jersey is now ordering larger train seats in cars that are replacing worn out train cars.  Some school bus companies are ordering wider doorways and even Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are adding wider seats.  Hospitals are being forced to consider larger CT scan openings, larger surgical suite tables and ambulances have to consider ways to access and remove larger patients from homes.  Recently a young boy was removed from his California home by social services, weighing in at 200 pounds.  After supervision by social services and healthcare professionals in a foster home, he lost 50 pounds.  He has now been reunited fulltime with his mom, with supervision by the team still ongoing.  There was enormous news coverage of similar stories recently, with strong opinions both favoring and against this action.  One can argue about all the contributing factors that caused this child (and other children) to become obese.  One cannot argue that removal from the home yielded significant results.  Will they last?  Can they last?  Is his mom motivated to embrace the help and education offered for her son’s sake?  Time will tell.


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    (Sourced from Reuters)


Published On: May 22, 2012