Is Obesity Now a Public Issue? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-30-2012, 08:04 AM
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The True Cost of Obesity in America

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One recent surprise is the discovery that the costs of obesity exceed those of smoking. In a paper published in March, scientists at the Mayo Clinic toted up the exact medical costs of 30,529 Mayo employees, adult dependents, and retirees over several years.

Smoking added about 20 percent a year to medical costs, said Mayos James Naessens. Obesity was similar, but morbid obesity increased those costs by 50 percent a year. There really is an economic justification for employers to offer programs to help the very obese lose weight.


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#2 Old 04-30-2012, 08:07 AM
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I like the article's ending:

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The books on obesity remain open. The latest entry: An obese man is 64 percent less likely to be arrested for a crime than a healthy man. Researchers have yet to run the numbers on what that might save.


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#3 Old 04-30-2012, 08:27 AM
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I like the article's ending:

lol.
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#4 Old 04-30-2012, 09:03 AM
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The other cost savings that I'm not sure is considered for both smoking and I suspect obesity is the huge cost savings to SS and medicare premiums due to the lower life expectancy.

Edit to add, I found an article on the subject:

http://joedawson.org/Interests/Smoke...s/issues2.html

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Apart from accidents, smokers and nonsmokers alike die mostly from heart disease, cancer and strokes. Smokers just get them sooner, on average. By living longer, non-smokers incur more in medical and old age expenses, not less. In addition, smokers' shorter lifespans mean they cost less in Social Security and pensions. Finally, they pay more taxes during their lives. Thus it can be shown that smokers, rather than costing money, actually pay into the system more than they take out.

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#5 Old 05-01-2012, 03:44 AM
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I wonder how all these - erm - "calculations" are made...
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#6 Old 05-01-2012, 06:46 AM
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I wonder how all these - erm - "calculations" are made...

Entirely depends on the agenda of those doing said "calculations".
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#7 Old 05-01-2012, 07:28 AM
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Yeah, most likely.
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#8 Old 05-01-2012, 08:15 AM
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I think the most cost effective solution would be to do away with health care

"I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine." Bruce Lee.

"On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero." Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)

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#9 Old 05-01-2012, 09:13 AM
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We could at least fire the carnival barkers who tout "Obesity now responsible for 65.343% of health costs! Last year only 63.44123%! Now 65.343%! Smokers cost more money than alcoholics! Smokers cost more than alcoholics!!" ad nauseam without ever getting croaky.

People are getting sick and tired of it and they're also getting used to it. Tell a smoker he will die of lung cancer long and often enough and he shuts down and shrugs his shoulders after a while. This ongoing "You're all going to die from too much cigarettes and pie" gets even on my nerves and I work in health care.

We've reached some kind of overkill and a lot of people just don't care anymore.
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#10 Old 05-01-2012, 09:27 AM
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Whatever the agenda of the study funder, it's undeniable that obesity and/or smoking is costly both in terms of money and lost lives. They're both worth studying.
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#11 Old 05-01-2012, 10:28 AM
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I guess one would have to make the argument that the cost of obesity is what makes it a public issue, which I'm not quite sure about.
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#12 Old 05-01-2012, 03:11 PM
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I woder though if the issue is really "obesity being a health issue" and not "widespread prevalence of unhealthy foods and sedentary lifestyles" being the real issue, not just hate directed at overweight people.
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#13 Old 05-01-2012, 03:53 PM
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I woder though if the issue is really "obesity being a health issue" and not "widespread prevalence of unhealthy foods and sedentary lifestyles" being the real issue, not just hate directed at overweight people.

That was my second thought, except that I think ultimately it is the industrialization of our food system and subsidies that keep the price of farm commodities below what they cost to produce. One could also blame capitalism and people like Earl Butz, too. It's complicated.
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#14 Old 05-04-2012, 12:09 PM
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If our gov't really was concerned, they'd start subsidizing fruits and vegetables at the same rate they do cheeseburgers.

slops, gloops, and gruels.
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#15 Old 05-04-2012, 12:26 PM
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If our gov't really was concerned, they'd start subsidizing fruits and vegetables at the same rate they do cheeseburgers.

Yep- there is no excuse for the gov not to be subbing fruit and veg. When I look at the price of chocolate and sweets next to that of fruit and veg, its ridiculous. Also there are like 5 fast food type places/bakeries on campus I think, and NO greengrocers. The shops that do stock fruit and veg aren't exactly overwhelming me with their range.....
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#16 Old 05-04-2012, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Demosthenes View Post

That was my second thought, except that I think ultimately it is the industrialization of our food system and subsidies that keep the price of farm commodities below what they cost to produce. One could also blame capitalism and people like Earl Butz, too. It's complicated.

I definitely blame Cap.
These companies are allowed to sell crap that is slowly killing people, and its just completely exploiting lack of education, lack of income, and humans natural instincts to search out Salt, Fat and Sugar. Its disgraceful.
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#17 Old 05-04-2012, 02:13 PM
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If our gov't really was concerned, they'd start subsidizing fruits and vegetables at the same rate they do cheeseburgers.

+ 1. Organic food too.
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#18 Old 05-04-2012, 06:39 PM
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+ 1. Organic food too.

I think they need to redefine what an organic label means. You can get organic frozen burritos and french fries... not good.
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#19 Old 05-04-2012, 08:39 PM
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^ true. I was more referring to fresh fruit, veg and grains.
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#20 Old 05-05-2012, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by a Balloon a Balloon View Post

I definitely blame Cap.
These companies are allowed to sell crap that is slowly killing people, and its just completely exploiting lack of education, lack of income, and humans natural instincts to search out Salt, Fat and Sugar. Its disgraceful.

I don't think Andy Capp is all to blame.

So what is the answer, ban certain foods, like crisps, cake, chips? Or maybe you could have rationing for certain foods?

I certainly wish that I hadn't put on all this weight, but I still have trouble even with ordinary foods like pasta...I don't see what else you can do but to ration all carbohydrate heavy foods.

I have wondered what would happen if they invented a magic pill that meant you could eat lots of food and not put on weight. That would probably mean that people in the west would eat a lot more, leading to a world food shortage....so it's best if they don't invent a way to cheat.

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#21 Old 05-05-2012, 06:54 AM
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If our gov't really was concerned, they'd start subsidizing fruits and vegetables at the same rate they do cheeseburgers.

We have all the fruits and veggies readily available that we could possibly ever want without government subsidization. Why in the hell would we want them involved? Before you know it we'd be overrun with cheap iceberg lettuce, potatoes, red delicious apples, navel oranges and the rest of the variety we now enjoy will slowly disappear.
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#22 Old 05-05-2012, 06:55 AM
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>dat feel when expensive fruits and vegetables

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#23 Old 05-05-2012, 07:30 AM
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I am obese and I think obese is a major impact of the public also, but I do agree that the government needs to crack down on the food and start sponsering helathy foods. I been fighting myself the last several months and I am going to go back in swing of things soon.
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#24 Old 05-05-2012, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Freesia View Post

I woder though if the issue is really "obesity being a health issue" and not "widespread prevalence of unhealthy foods and sedentary lifestyles" being the real issue, not just hate directed at overweight people.

Most likely the sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy food is the real issue regardless of people being overweight or not. It's kind of sad that a lot of people seem to think "as long as I'm being thin I can scarf down cheeseburgers and park my butt on the sofa without having to fear any consequences".
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#25 Old 05-05-2012, 09:02 AM
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I blame cars, TV, air conditioning, non-walkable communities, etc.
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#26 Old 05-05-2012, 09:34 AM
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I don't really like articles like "True cost of X" where X is some type of activity, behavior, etc. I think it's just trying to find someone (or group of people) to blame.

How about we all look at the 'true cost' of our modern lives. Having electricity and water on demand. The ability to see our bodily 'waste' and household 'waste' disappear. The ability to go to the store and purchase food in cans, boxes, or fresh fruits and vegetables out of season any time of the year. The ability to purchase all sorts of what I think of as 'junk' to 'enrich' our lives. To strap ourselves into a complicated piece of metal and plastic and drive around on concrete and asphalt at high speeds.

The list goes on.

I'd rather look at what obesity does to a person on a personal level and attempt to help that individual (if they want it) rather than look at what it supposedly does to the rest of the world.

Do what you want as long as it harms no one else.

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#27 Old 05-05-2012, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

Do what you want as long as it harms no one else.

I agree with this thought in principle, however, obesity does harm others financially in increased health care costs. A person who takes care of their body, eats healthy, maintains an active lifestyle, maintains a healthy body weight, doesn't smoke, etc... is going to be subsidizing the health care of someone who doesn't take care of themselves, either through higher health insurance premiums, government mandated health coverage or funding the medicaid system via tax dollars because these people have become so unhealthy they can't work.

The alternative for these people to do no harm to others is to throw them to the wolves. You're overweight, unhealthy and can't afford health care, too bad, so sad.
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#28 Old 05-05-2012, 11:33 AM
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Being obese raises the risk of harmful effects on the body, yes.

"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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#29 Old 05-05-2012, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Forster View Post

I agree with this thought in principle, however, obesity does harm others financially in increased health care costs. A person who takes care of their body, eats healthy, maintains an active lifestyle, maintains a healthy body weight, doesn't smoke, etc... is going to be subsidizing the health care of someone who doesn't take care of themselves, either through higher health insurance premiums, government mandated health coverage or funding the medicaid system via tax dollars because these people have become so unhealthy they can't work.

I just don't agree. In any society where we externalize costs (which includes all of us here on VB), all of our lifestyle choices will have an impact on others. If we're paying into any system and benefiting from 'modern' life, we're subsidizing others and being subsidized. When you can tease out that complicated system, then you may have a point, if not, then this is just another modern blame game.

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The alternative for these people to do no harm to others is to throw them to the wolves. You're overweight, unhealthy and can't afford health care, too bad, so sad.

An alternative is that, but that is not the only one.

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#30 Old 05-05-2012, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by nogardsram View Post

I just don't agree. In any society where we externalize costs (which includes all of us here on VB), all of our lifestyle choices will have an impact on others. If we're paying into any system and benefiting from 'modern' life, we're subsidizing others and being subsidized. When you can tease out that complicated system, then you may have a point, if not, then this is just another modern blame game.



An alternative is that, but that is not the only one.

So should society heavily tax tobacco and discourage it's use?
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