Being overweight costs a lot of extra money according to a new study by The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services’ Department of Health Policy. Asides from the obvious costs such as extra health care and higher food costs the report tries to determine and estimate all the costs they can find that stem from being overweight. The report even alludes to the fact that obesity may cause things such as loss of productivity and other costs related to esteem issues.
They found that obesity costs women far more than men with $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men each year. If you factor loss of life into the equation the costs soar to $8,365 for women and $6,518 for men annually. The report also suggests the costs may even be higher than the estimates due to not being able to track all associated costs.
What do I think about the cost of obesity report?
Well like anything I have double edged feelings about obesity and also about reports. I think obesity needs to come down. Our consumption is crazy and life is something to be valued as my belief leads me to believe we only get one shot and I don’t want to die young. However it’s easy to pick on the fat as it’s a visual trait that is causing issues. Obviously grossly overweight people do eat more in general, do cost more in hospital and even may need extra fuel to move around but many other problems cause similar cases. People who smoke and drink heavily cause a similar burden but are not as demonized in day to day society. People who refuse to walk anywhere and only use their cars can be adding to the carbon dioxide load and life in general is costing every individual a lot more money than they need to spend.
Also pointing out “the obese” in such a way with publicly released studies and media attached is likely to increase esteem based problems. It’s already an issue that society has meant that a fit appearing person is often more likely to take a job over a fat person and some media recently reported that parents provide more help to thinner children.
Responsible eating education and a culture of exercise has to be developed without making fatter people feel so low that they give up on it. Every kid has a different natural level of fitness and the American school system finds ways to favor and help kids in every way that show natural ability in sports, whilst this is needed to keep the industry of professional sport alive the gap between talented sport kids and normal level kids needs to be made less obvious and I think education to the teachers to find a way of equal incentives and encouragement for all to keep sport or at least some fitness alive. Maybe changing up the sports culture and finding out what a certain kid wants to do could help. Maybe some kids would rather go orienteering than play football every week. Learn to read maps and race from marker to market rather than smash heads. Maybe some kids want to try a new sport each week, kubadi anyone? Kids who loathe exercise may find some fun by playing wii or even being taken to a preschool to play with the younger children and get exercise through other means.
Food education of course needs to start at school but a massive national campaign is needed to take it into the home.
I got rambling again but would love your input….