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Americans are using more fuel because they weigh so much.  (Source: Healthy Me!)
"If you see me coming your way/Better give me plenty space"

Americans these days are living big, though not necessarily in a good way. Even as some people in America turn to healthier lifestyles, obesity rates continue to soar upwards.  That's frustrating news not only for doctors, but for transportation engineers as well.

We already covered how obesity was costing the U.S. airline industry $275M USD more a year in fuel use.  But according to
Consumer Reports, it's not the only transportation industry to buckle under the America's growing mass.

The publication cites a 2006 study which indicates that for every pound added to the national average passenger weight, 39 million more gallons of fuel are used.  In total, over 1 billion gallons of fuel a year (about 0.7 percent of the nation's total use) can be attributed to fat.

Other studies show that the effect, while small, may be larger than those previous estimates.  Non-profit company Resources for the Future in 2009 showed that between 1999 to 2005 a 10-percent increase in overweight and obese drivers reduced fuel economy of new vehicle demand by 2.5 percent.

The report also comes to the more controversial conclusion that obesity is driving SUV, van, and pickup truck purchases.  It attributes much of the rise in this sector from 16 percent of total sales in the 1970s to over 40 percent today as being the result of passengers seeking cars to deal with their growing size.

Another study, which we previously covered, comes to the conclusion that obese drivers are more likely to be injured during car wrecks despite their extra mass apparently overcoming whatever padding their flab provided.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in America obesity rose 1.1 percent from 2007 to 2009 -- meaning that roughly 2.4 million people entered the category for the first time.  Plus the number of states with over 30 percent obesity rates jumped from three to nine.

Consumer Reports suggests both that Americans need to lose weight and that plus-sized crash test dummies need to be implemented to better protect those who haven't lost weight yet.

There's not always an easy answer for obese drivers.  An Edmonton, Alberta Kia dealer last year was forced to inform a woman who purchased a Kia Rio that she might be too heavy for it.  The sedan was pulling towards the left.  The dealership tried to correct it, to no avail, but eventually gave up, realizing the laws of physics were stacked against them; the driver had too much mass.  

 



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RE: So What.
By GTVic on 8/12/2010 3:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
This is not just a few people. I was watching one of those documentary type shows showing an enormous machine carting a pre-manufactured overpass down the highway and it happened to go by a Walmart where a small crowd of people had gathered to watch. Only the small crowd wasn't too small, every single person was well over 200lbs, no healthy-sized (or even slightly over weight) people in sight.

You make no sense whatsoever, over consumption of everything is a problem not an economic benefit. Do you actually think that people buying truckloads of sugar snacks is somehow good for our civilization?


RE: So What.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: So What.
By MozeeToby on 8/12/2010 4:10:26 PM , Rating: 3
Imagine if instead of eating all that extra food, they went into the pantry and stomped all the cookies into dust. Wouldn't you admit that that's a wasteful behavior? It becomes much harder to argue that there is a net economic benefit in that case. Why is it really any different?

Money spent on one thing is not around to be spent on another, yes it supports the farmers and bakers, but it is at its very heart an inefficiency in the economic system. People are spending more money on food than they need to. That is their choice of course, if it weren't we'd all be living off the cheapest food that can sustain us. Spending it on food (that you really don't need) is little different then breaking a window and paying to have it repaired (see the Broken Window Fallacy). Yes, it gets the money flowing through the system, but it ignores the fact that the money would have flowed somewhere else anyway.


RE: So What.
By knutjb on 8/12/2010 6:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
So you're saying the money spent fallacy is just like Nancy Pelosi stating unemployment checks are good for the economy?


RE: So What.
By InvertMe on 8/13/2010 9:58:57 AM , Rating: 2
That's not a good analogy.
An unemployment check can be spent on heat, rent, necessary food and whatever else you need to actually live. That's not wasteful. What is wasteful is stuffing your face full of food that you don't need and trying to make a false argument that you are actually helping the economy by doing so.


RE: So What.
By ebakke on 8/12/2010 4:22:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm all about people having the freedom to make whatever choices they want, even if it means allowing someone to choose to kill themselves with a poor diet. But are you honestly trying to tell me that you don't see their decisions as bad?

And it becomes particularly troublesome when they teach the same behavior to their children.


RE: So What.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2010 5:20:59 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
But are you honestly trying to tell me that you don't see their decisions as bad?


Nope, I'm not. I just don't feel comfortable judging them on it to be honest.

I think man has an innate need to assert it's dominance over others. And "fat" people have become the newest politically correct target. I mean, their fat and disgusting, right? How could they GET that way? We would NEVER let that happen to us. So something must be wrong with them, or we must make comments on them, or insult them, or blame them for stuff etc etc.

I just really don't feel like taking a part in that to be honest.


RE: So What.
By Spuke on 8/12/2010 7:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I just really don't feel like taking a part in that to be honest.
I can understand this.


RE: So What.
By thurston on 8/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: So What.
By ebakke on 8/12/2010 9:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
So you're comfortable making judgments about people who follow more liberal political views, but not fat people? Just so we're on the same page here...


RE: So What.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/13/2010 12:36:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So you're comfortable making judgments about people who follow more liberal political views


If they support measures and opinions that increase my taxes, lower my standard of living, impose restrictions on me etc etc? You're goddamn right.

How is someone weighing more compare to that exactly? I know a lot of people here are trying to make some Butterfly Effect argument that somehow an overweight person is negatively impacting everyone else. But even if that's true, it doesn't come close to the effect runaway Liberalism does.

Hope we're on the same page now.


RE: So What.
By ebakke on 8/13/2010 10:05:14 AM , Rating: 1
All I'm saying is don't take this holier than thou attitude about how you're above judging others when you do it all the damn time. And if you're going to, expect to be called out on it.


RE: So What.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/13/2010 12:02:17 PM , Rating: 2
Where did I say I was "above" judging others? Holier than thou? OH come on, you surely must have a beef with me and are just projecting it onto this conversation. Because that's ludicrous. Where did I come down on ANYONE for judging fat people here? I didn't. I just said I don't want to. Your attempt to portray me as a hypocrite just isn't going to work.

This discussion is over, and everyone is dumber for having read it. A guy/girl eating "too much" cookies are whatever is none of my business, and none of my concern. It doesn't effect anyone in the slightest.


RE: So What.
By ebakke on 8/13/2010 1:44:26 PM , Rating: 2
I have no beef with you, and more often than not, I agree with your viewpoints expressed here. Maybe I read your post with a tone/inflection that you didn't have when you wrote it. I don't know. But it sure came across as "I know everyone else is fine with bashing fat people, but I'm just not comfortable stooping to that level."


RE: So What.
By JediJeb on 8/12/2010 3:50:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well you could go so far as to assume that a bunch of people standing in a WalMart parking lot in the middle of the day were people who were not working and living off welfare. Therefore you could come to the assumption that welfare makes people fat, so we should do away with welfare. See if there was no welfare, then people would be thin because they are either working hard and burning off the calories or they have no money for food and therefore can't eat enough calories to become fat. It would be a total win for everyone to do away with welfare, people would be thinner and healthier, which would reduce the cost of health care, plus we would save all the money we pay people on welfare. We would also be saving energy for transportation, energy for running air conditioners since thin people can take the heat better, and so many other savings.

Just think, all that savings from just cutting out welfare, amazing.

/devil's advocate off


RE: So What.
By Ammohunt on 8/12/2010 4:20:32 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Only the small crowd wasn't too small, every single person was well over 200lbs, no healthy-sized (or even slightly over weight) people in sight.


So who determines who is “Healthy Weight” is and who isn't? The same people that decided to sterilize the mentally retarded at the turn of the 20th century? perhaps Government? It’s a myth that weight is always an indicator of poor overall health. My point is people are free to make whatever destructive choice they want in a free society it’s called personal responsibility. It’s only a societal problem when it directly affects others such as drunk driving. Like Smokers, skydivers, people who practice Erotic Asphyxiation or have unprotected sex, play Russian roulette, shoot heroin etc.. People that are obese assume the risks of such behavior as an individual and only ruin themselves. Frankly its none of my business what you choose to do with our life and its none of your business what I do with mine.


RE: So What.
By WW102 on 8/12/2010 4:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly it is no ones business until the we socialize medicine. At that moment that society becomes responsible for health care bills then society should have a right to do something about it.

Best way to not make it my problem or my business....Stop socializing everything.

I would 100% perfer to not to care or pay for someones life habits as you stated such as sky diving, smoking, drinking etc...


RE: So What.
By Ammohunt on 8/12/2010 4:32:19 PM , Rating: 1
Oh but you know you will becasue jogging, skydiving, mountain biking are all acceptable destructive activities. I agree my problems should not be societies problems..so why is society so eager to own them?


RE: So What.
By WW102 on 8/12/2010 4:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
So now we are on two different topics. One is the way it should be, meaning society is not responsible for pay for I guess the word we are using is destructive behavior. So if I over eat, break my arm skiing, fail to deploy my parachute then all that cost and responsiblity falls back on me or on my assets and securities.

Now the second topic is if we socialize everything meaning were all in this together and we all pay into the same pot and we all withdraw from the same pot. Then if the healthy are paying for the unhealthy lifestyles, who gets a voice on how the money should get distributed?

Now we will all grow old and die. Thats a given and to a degree you can account for the cost of death. Its when someones medical cost start to grow past what the cost for someones life is that we start to have issues.

Please don't get caught up on singluar or direct pronouns, this is a general discussion not singling out anyone.


RE: So What.
By JediJeb on 8/12/2010 5:18:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now the second topic is if we socialize everything meaning were all in this together and we all pay into the same pot and we all withdraw from the same pot. Then if the healthy are paying for the unhealthy lifestyles, who gets a voice on how the money should get distributed?


This is the part if socialized everything that I have a problem with. Unless everyone is making the same amount of money then they can't all pay the same amount into the pot. And with how most of the socialized societies are working now, those that don't make money to put into the pot, are the very ones drawing the most out of the pot! This is in no way a fair and equitable society.


RE: So What.
By rcc on 8/13/2010 12:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Then if the healthy are paying for the unhealthy lifestyles, who gets a voice on how the money should get distributed?


And, who gets a voice on welfare payments if the employed are paying for the unemployed?

Or the people with or without diabetes, Parkinson's disease, etc. Alcoholics, or even just habitual drinkers. Other partakers in modern pharaceutical recreation. Personally, I'm really worried about rodeo clowns and pro wrestlers, I don't want any part of their medical bills. : )

Who gets to draw any of those lines. And if you draw it in one place for one group, is it fair to draw it elsewhere for another group.


RE: So What.
By sp33dklz on 8/12/2010 6:17:36 PM , Rating: 2
I agree to a point. I think over-eaters and morbidly obese people are just as disgusting and revolting as drug addicts on street corners.

I'm glad they exist and if I had enough corn syrup and overprocessed meat products, I'd shove everyone into a line at McDonalds and have them all supersize their fat intake.

I'm going into the medical field. All these fat lazy people are job security. Please continue to eat up! My future children's college funds will thank your size 44" wallets.

-Josh


RE: So What.
By Mathos on 8/12/2010 7:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know what reality you live in, but you needa get an education on weight. You say 200lbs like it's some magical weight that makes someone fat regardless of height and frame build.

I'll agree there are tons, no pun intended, of people at wally world that need to get off their butts and get some physical activity goin. I should know because I work there, and get to see 500lb people riding around the scooter things constantly.

But Dude, I can look at that statement and outright tell you, I'd look like a walking skeleton, if I were down to 200lbs with my height and frame. And not everyones weight problems has to do with eating a lot. Some of it just has to do with eating the wrong type of food. Or it couldn't possibly have to do with all the hormones and steroids and other crap they put in our meat and other food products. Don't even get me started on what the hells going on with fast food. When you can make at home the same food, at 1/2-1/3 the fat and calorie count, somethings goin on.


RE: So What.
By GTVic on 8/13/2010 5:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
I said well over 200lbs and the exact number is not an issue.

I would have expected in a crowd of 20-25 people to see a cross-section of the population and what I saw was 20-25 average height people weighing 240-270 lbs, everyone in the group was significantly obese.

What was a shock to me is that is what a cross-section of today's American looks like.


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