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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: A strain on the Economy
By JediJeb on 8/12/2010 5:32:49 PM , Rating: 1
Unless the country is paying for all of those things, then it isn't costing the country any more, it is costing the obese person more.

Just think, if you reduce the amount consumed of these things, then the production of them will drop with the decreased demand to maintain the overall profitability in each segment. That drop in production would cause a drop in employment which would decrease the money available to be spent which would further cause a decrease in production.

It may be straining the "socialized" aspects of the economy, but increased consumption is definitely not straining a normal economy. In fact, decreased consumption is what strains an economy most, otherwise why are the economist encouraging people today to buy more to strengthen the current economy?


RE: A strain on the Economy
By dgingeri on 8/12/2010 6:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Unless the country is paying for all of those things, then it isn't costing the country any more, it is costing the obese person more.


unfortunately, there are an awful lot of people who are 400+ lbs and live on welfare, food stamps, and medicaid. I wish it weren't that way, but it is. Yes, it is costing us more.

now, I'm considered obese at 5'8" and 220lbs, but I'm pretty solid. I'm not fat, but these stupid government guidelines say I'm obese. I also make a good living and pay >$10k in taxes every year. I'm not costing anyone anything. People who complain about my weight can just go jump off a bridge.


RE: A strain on the Economy
By knutjb on 8/12/2010 6:57:26 PM , Rating: 1
I concur, the numbers the gov uses for BMI is based on a wag and everyone is different. The only real way to tell what someone's true weight should be is a very long and time consuming test.

I know some people who were forced out of the military on BMI standards but they were gymaholics but don't let that get in the way.

No I'm not justifying severe obesity, just many are classified as obese without real knowledge of their true medical position.

Take a look at food labels, they are supposedly designed for all but are really geared around a small number of society prone to severe hypertension. Government in action!

This should be between the person and their doctor, not a bunch of supper skinny people saying I'm skinny why aren't you? BTW I'm not fat.


RE: A strain on the Economy
By JediJeb on 8/13/2010 5:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
unfortunately, there are an awful lot of people who are 400+ lbs and live on welfare, food stamps, and medicaid. I wish it weren't that way, but it is. Yes, it is costing us more.


That is why I included the part about the "socialized" economy. The progressives make a socialized economy sound good, but in the end it is the ones that want to take from the system without paying into it that reap the benefits while those who pay in but don't qualify for benefits get the raw deal.


RE: A strain on the Economy
By Lerianis on 8/14/2010 12:27:56 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. The fact is that most of the people who are 400+ pounds and live on welfare, food stamps and medicaid ALREADY had disorders, mental and physical, that would have kept them from working BEFORE they got that overweight.

I know three families in my area that are like that, and I thought that of them as well.... until I actually talked to them and they showed me the documentation that the wife had MS and the husband had mental disorders that even while medicated, with his past history, meant that no one would hire him.

He had been looking for a job because he wasn't on total disability like his wife and no one would hire him. They gave him his past history (which he was legally required to reveal) as the reason.


RE: A strain on the Economy
By WW102 on 8/16/2010 5:13:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I know three families in my area that are like that, and I thought that of them as well....


Well if you know three familes that must be how it is everywhere huh?


By Unspoken Thought on 8/15/2010 1:59:33 AM , Rating: 4
Sigh...when will we stop thinking we are the center of the universe.

Check this out, most of the food produced out there and available to us is produced out of soy (genetically modified) and (refined) wheat. Both of those products are there to fatten us up and are reproduced to be in nearly every item in your super market. All of it is government subsidized and handled by a handful of companies run by the very people who are supposed to be for the people. The cheaper the processed food, the more "modified" it is. Who normally pays for the dollar menu? The poor and ignorant. Who doesn't have the health care and are buoyed by all our "systems"? Mostly the same people. I'll let your minds start putting things together. It's a huge wheel and most of us are stuck in the middle thinking that we aren't being controlled with the illusion that we have choices. We think that the so called professionals in suits must be right because we're made to believe that. The people who want out have to work harder and pay more because the solutions we want are not massed produced.

If I hear the word socialized again I'm going to gag. No one even mentioned the word till it hit main stream media and now it's used as a weak label on both sides of the argument.

I agree with helping humanity, but greed takes over and begins to abuse everyone in the process. I don't care what side your on, just wake up and start making informed decisions.


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher














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