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Tuesday 12 March 2002

War On Fat Proceeds Apace

A Reuters story reports on a UCLA study that shows that being fat is more harmful to one’s health than smoking.

In terms of dollar amounts, the study found that obesity raised healthcare costs by an average of $395 a year, while smoking increased costs by $230 and heavy drinking is associated with a $150 annual increase.

So, in dollar amounts, being obese is 172% as dangerous as smoking, and 263% as dangerous as ‘heavy’ drinking. And obese people have 30 to 50 per cent more chronic medical problems than smokers or boozehounds.

To combat this, the Surgeon General’s office recommends that people cut back on “sugar and fats”. Which, of course, will only result in them eating massive loads of carbohydrates, and getting even fatter.

The UCLA guy, the story says, “cited more and more hours in front of the television, less physical activity and a car-obsessed culture, as significant causes of American’s growing obesity problem.” And he’s right; the problem isn’t what we eat, it’s the fact that we do almost nothing but sit on our asses. He’s not right about the country being “car-obsessed”, though. It’s not an obsession, it’s an environment built in such a way that walking is generally not an option.

Sturm [the UCLA guy] said higher taxes on cigarettes have played a big role in deterring people from smoking, but a similar approach to weight control — the so-called “twinkie tax” — is unlikely to work.

But that isn’t stopping a number of states from trying anyway.

Posted by tino at 13:54 12.03.02
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So does this mean it will become as socially unacceptable to eat as it is to smoke & drink?

Posted by: Paul M Johnson at March 12, 2002 04:07 PM