Tuesday, August 23, 2005


One of the arguments for banning smoking (and marginalizing smokers) is that the general public is forced to pay for sicknesses caused by smoking, through increased insurance premiums, time lost from jobs, etc.

But the Web MD Medical News reported, over three years ago, that the obesity epidemic may be contributing more to America's rising health care and drug costs than smoking and alcohol abuse.

Researchers say being obese increases how much a person spends on medical services by 36% and on medications by 77% compared with what a normal-weight person would spend.

In comparison, even with all the known health risks of smoking and alcohol abuse, the researchers found only a 21% rise in health care costs and a 28% rise in medication costs with active smoking, and even more modest cost increases with alcohol abuse.

This indicates that obesity may be more harmful to your health than smoking or drinking, at least in terms of dollars spent. It is reasonable to assume that the same types of burdens placed on insurance holders by smoking apply to obesity, and that obesity costs more to the average insurance holder.

Obesity continues to rise in the US, a country happily built on the notion of excess. From our huge SUV's (half of the cars registed in the US are SUV's or light trucks - and gas prices continue to spike) to our big screen TV's, we're not a people who practice restraint.

Some researchers are calling on the government to step in when it comes to obesity, as they already have when it comes to smoking. Of course, it's not quite as easy to tell an obese person that they can't eat in your restaurant (imagine if a waiter were legally obligated to cut off a diner who's "had enough," like a bartender is) or to refuse employment to an obese person because they fail a fat test. I certainly don't expect the government to tell people to lose weight, any more than I expect them to tell me not to smoke in a bar owned by, and employing, smokers.

Wait a second...


At 10:34 AM, Blogger Jackson said...

Fat people should eat more cigarettes.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Chrispy said...

As someone who's likely destined to become fat (it runs in my family, the old ballooning up after a certain age), I certainly mean no ill will toward the plump amongst us. I just think that smokers have been easy to villify, I suppose because we stink up the air with our cancerous exhaust.

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Tony Alva said...

Just remember, I've NEVER complained about your smoke, so no complaining about my fat this weekend.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Chrispy said...

Since when is Tony Alva fat?

Last time I saw him, he was a lean mean rock and roll machine.

"Excuse me, can you put your fat out?"

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Jackson said...

As Weird Al said - 'Who's Fat!"

At 4:41 PM, Blogger David Skul said...

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