Social Costs of Being Overweight

A recent report in a Reuter’s publication spoke of the way in which healthcare costs increase along with increasing waistlines. There are so many ways in which the obesity epidemic impacts not only health care costs but also has additional social impacts that we tend not to think about.

How being overweight impacts public spending

It isn’t just that you and I have to shell out more our own health care and insurance costs if we are overweight. There are many other social impacts and costs of an overweight population too. There are costs to businesses, the government and individuals as well.Costs-of-Being-Overweight

Consider for instance the fact that American hospitals are having to remove wall mounted toilets and replacing them with the sort that rest on the floor so that they can bear the extra weight of obese patients.

The brakes and steering on buses are being tested for heavier impact as passengers keep getting heavier.

Insurance and health care costs are directly and indirectly impacted by rising levels of obesity in the society.

Obesity is also about lost productivity because of the health problems and hence absenteeism, associated with being overweight. This lost or lowered productivity is a cost to the employer as well as the employee.

The build environment is also coming in for change as seats in public spaces and even seats in sports stadiums are now being built wider to accommodate bigger bottoms.

And the problem is that the costs of obese are indirectly being borne by the non-obese. Obesity is being called the new second hand smoke due to the impact it can have on others.

Other costs that obese individuals have to bear

Obese individuals themselves have a lot to deal with; in fact, their weight may be something that makes people discriminate against them. Obese individuals are less likely to get jobs, they are less likely to be given apartments, and they may even be served slower and may be less likely to be sent to college by their parents!

Even travel costs go up due to obesity: there is more fuel consumed by cars, buses and airliners due to heavier passengers.

There is also another economic problem that overweight people deal with: it is actually cheaper and easier to have an unhealthy diet consisting of fast food and junk food. This makes it all the more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

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