Print 128 comment(s) - last by 0ldman.. on Aug 18 at 12:33 AM

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.  


Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Zombie Apocalypse
By dgingeri on 8/12/2010 5:15:45 PM , Rating: -1
I'm 5'8" and 220lbs. Somehow, they consider that obese. I don't see it. I can touch my toes with no problem. I can jump up on a table top without a running start. Many football players are the same build I am, just with a little more on their arms and less on their belly.

I'm not obese. I've tried losing weight, and have been down to 180 6 times in the last 8 years. I just gain it back, in slightly different proportions. The first time I started exercising to lose weight, I lost 4 inches around the waist, down to 34, and gained 3 inches around my biceps. Then it all came back. I'm a more fit 220 now than I was at 30, but I'm still 220 and have a little bit of a gut.

Quite frankly, I think I look pretty good. I look tough, and that's what counts for me. Few people would mess with me.

The "fit" people just lack understanding about what fit really is. Obese is just their way of saying "you're not like me, so I'm better." I just ignore them these days.

RE: Zombie Apocalypse
By Nutzo on 8/12/2010 6:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
That gives you a BMI (body mass index) of 33.5 which puts you in the obese range (over 30)
If you have a "large" build or have a more muscular build than average, then 33.5 is not really unhealthy.

Body builders usually fall into the obese or morbidly obese category due the muscle weighing more than fat.

Most people with a BMI under 40 will NOT have serious health problems due to their weight. It’s the people who are so fat they have trouble walking that are the drain on health care. The reason they group everyone who is overweight together in their so called studies, is so they can create a obesity crisis (OMG 45% are over weight) and get more funding for studies (just like global warning). If they reported that 4% of the population has health problems due to their weight, nobody would really care.

There was a major health study a couple years ago that broke weight down into 5 groups. Under weight, normal, over weight (BMI< 30 ), obese BMI < 40 , and morbidly obese BMI >= 40

The healthiest group was of course normal weight.
2nd healthiest was over weight (almost as healthy as normal weight)
3rd was under weight (underweight IS a health risk)
4th was obese (almost as healthy as under weight)
And last (way last) was the morbidly obese

Groups 1-4 had very little difference in over all health issues or in the cost of their health card, it was only the morbidly obese group that has the huge increase in healthcare cost. Part of the problem is that lower weight people tend to be more active, and end up with costly “sports” type injuries, as opposed to weight related problems. Cost tend to balance out.

RE: Zombie Apocalypse
By jabber on 8/13/2010 12:44:43 PM , Rating: 1
Its mass not weight when it comes to fat and muscle.

a pound of fat weights the same as a pound of muscle.

However, a pound of fat will be larger than a pound of muscle.

Thats the difference.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki