Fat and Not Afraid

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Why I don't give a fuck about the 'cost' of obesity

September 23, 2011

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “The medical care costs of obesity in the United States are staggering. In 2008 dollars, these costs totaled about $147 billion (Obesity and Overweight for Professionals).”  For most Americans that is a pretty staggering dollar amount to see.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I have been doing my environmental biology homework.  Is $147 billion significant?  Of course I am taking the CDC’s facts at face value, but let’s compare it to some other facts:

  • ·        According to the National Institute of Health, elevated mercury levels caused by pollution costs the U.S. economy $8.7 billion each year in higher medical and educational costs and lost workplace productivity (Cunningham).
  • ·        Total costs for early deaths related to indoor air pollution and smoking-related illnesses are estimated to be $100 billion per year (Cunningham).
  • ·        The World Health Organization estimates that some 5 to 6 million people die prematurely every year from illnesses related to air pollution.  Heart attacks, respiratory diseases, and lung cancer are all higher in people who breathe polluted air (Cunningham).  As a small example – in Los Angeles, there is as much as a 5 to 10 year decreases in life expectancy vs. living in a less polluted environment.
  • ·        Along the U.S. Coast line, $2 trillion dollars of insured property is at risk from a combination of high seas and catastrophic storms (Cunningham).  I think I will call this the Realty Epidemic from now on.
  • ·        Hurricane Katrina cost at least $200 billion in damages, and the communities affected still have not recovered (Cunningham). But don’t worry . . . We’ll take care of all the fat people who are such an eyesore first. Then focus on that pesky problem of rehabilitating New Orleans.
  • ·        Because of “sick building syndrome”, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there is a cost of $60 billion a year in medical expenses, absenteeism and reduced productivity (Cunningham).
  • ·        According to the Council on Environmental Quality, the U.S. loses $4.8 billion per year to direct architectural damage caused by air pollution and an additional $5.2 billion in property value (Cunningham).

These are just a small sampling of the economic shit storm hovering around the environmental issues of our planet.  But by all means, what we should REALLY be concerned with is each individual’s personal body and ability to control its size and shape.  So just remember folks, eat “right”, exercise, but don’t breathe.  Breathing will kill you. And it’s a drain on the resources of the medical industry.

Works Cited:

Cunningham, William P., and Mary Ann. Cunningham. Environmental Science: a Global Concern. Seven ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010. Print.

"Obesity and Overweight for Professionals: Economic Consequences | DNPAO | CDC." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Economic Consequences, 28 Mar. 2011. Web. 23 Sept. 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/causes/economics.html>.

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