Monday

Study Finds: Fat people destroying health care.


Maybe the headline is a bit blunt but the following article is unambiguous in its message: obesity is a national crisis. If you are obese you can expect the government to come after you in an effort to reduce the costs associated with health care.

The headline of the Associate Press story reads:

Nearly 10 percent of health spending for obesity
Report: Treating weight-related diseases costs U.S. $147 billion

WASHINGTON - Obesity's not just dangerous, it's expensive. New research shows medical spending averages $1,400 more a year for an obese person than someone who's normal weight.

Stop and think a minute; how many of you out there are “normal” weight. Not by your standard but by government standards. This is not a rhetorical question as the answer may brand you an enemy of the state. It could just subject you to higher taxes and draconian programs aimed to “change your behavior”. Don’t believe me; read on.

Overall obesity-related health spending reaches $147 billion, double what it was nearly a decade ago, says the study published Monday by the journal Health Affairs.

Don't blame things like stomach-stapling for all those extra bills. They instead reflect the costs of treating diabetes, heart disease and other ailments far more common for the overweight, concluded the study by government scientists and the nonprofit research group RTI International.

RTI health economist Eric Finkelstein offers a blunt message for lawmakers trying to revamp the health care system: "Unless you address obesity, you're never going to address rising health care costs."

Obesity-related conditions now account for 9.1 percent of all medical spending, up from 6.5 percent in 1998, the study concluded.

Translated to common speak; you fat people are using up more than your share of the health care system. You weak minded gluttons are taking food and medical resources from the mouths of the poor and must be stopped.

Health economists have long warned that obesity is a driving force behind the rise in health spending. For example, diabetes costs the nation $190 billion a year to treat, and excess weight is the single biggest risk factor for developing diabetes. Moreover, obese diabetics are the hardest to treat, with higher rates of foot ulcers and amputations, among other things.

It sounds as if we are about to create a whole new class of criminals in the United States. We are all ready contending with the drug police, the thought police and the speech police; looks like the fat police are waiting in the wings for their chance to take a bite out of crime. They had better pace themselves though. Taking too many bites out of crime could make them obese and therefore fugitives themselves.

The new study's look at per-capita spending may offer a shock to the wallets of people who haven't yet heeded straight health warnings.

"Health care costs are dramatically higher for people who are obese and it doesn't have to be that way," said Jeff Levi of the nonprofit Trust for America's Health, who wasn't involved in the new research.

“We have ways of changing behavior and changing those health outcomes so that we don't have to deal with the medical consequences of obesity," added Levi, who advocates community-based programs that promote physical activity and better nutrition.

“We have ways of changing behavior...” that reminds me of one of those old WWII movies and the Nazi interrogators; “Ve half vays of making ju talk”. All kidding aside though this scares me considerably. I am by no means obese but by government standards I would be considered over weight. I workout with weights and run daily, I'm healthy, so my question is this; what are they planning to do to me to bring me into the fold of the emaciated?

About a third of adult Americans are obese, and the obesity rate rose 37 percent between 1998 and 2006, the years covered by Monday's study.

Freedom is the greatest gift we have been given. We have the freedom to live and pursue our dreams and the freedom to be fat if we choose. The study overlooks the fact that we are the ones who pay for our decisions. Our taxes, payroll deductions, and insurance payments are our crosses to bear.


This whole concept seems to be the precursor to rationed health care or worse (think eugenics). When the government is the arbiter of healthy we should worry. In the mean time I would suggest passing on the Bon Bons and maybe reach for a carrot stick or something. On the upside Oprah would be forced to stay thin and we would likely be rid of Roseanne altogether.

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