9/21/2005

Get Paid For Being Overweight

The US is one of the most unhealthy countries in the world. With fast food restaurants on every corner and Krispy Kreme doughnuts offered in many gas stations and convenient stores it’s no wonder that our country has a problem with obesity. We have become a fast-food nation, always on the run, and usually looking for something quick and convenient. Obesity has become a major problem for businesses, schools, families, government, and includes people of all ages. There are more kids with diabetes under the age of twelve than ever before, and in a majority of those cases diabetes was followed by obesity. What really concerns me is the government’s involvement in allocating Social Security to people who suffer from obesity. If you are obese, you may be entitled to disability payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA)! According to the SSA, $77 million are paid monthly to approximately 137,000 persons who met obesity requirements for disability. http://www.obesity.org/subs/disability/ Are we really drying up our Social Security because people are overweight? I realize that some people are born with bad genetics or have suffered injury that don’t allow them to be active, but after seeing the crowded lines at McDonalds and Krispy Kreme everyday during lunch time I am convinced that many obese people can prevent or help themselves from being obese. I have a good friend that has been working out with me five days a week for about 8 months now, who has changed his diet, and has dropped from 285 pounds to under 250 pounds. He will be the first to admit that he used to be lazy and had a poor diet, but now he is doing something about it.

11 comments:

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Chloe said...

It's ridiculous how much of our country is overweight. What's even more ridiculous is that these overweight people are suing fast-food restaurants for making them fat. Many have come to believe that it’s the fast-food industries fault for making people fat; we no longer take responsibility for any of our actions, if something goes wrong it has to be somebody else’s fault.

Tyler said...

I watched a documentary on TLC about a woman that weight around 637 pounds, which is obviously morbidly obese. The woman was undergoing gastric bypass surgery and without the help of government subsidies, she would not have been able to get the surgery and turn her life around. Hopefully in the near future she will be able terminate the financial support from the government and support herself. With out this surgery it my have cost us taxpayers more to support this woman for the rest of her life than to temporarily help her get back on her feet.

Logan said...

Tax dollars should not be going toward helping people who are overweight. It is their duty to practice prevenitive maintenance early in their life and sustain a healthy life later. Are we going to try and help every person who is in need in this nation, when in many cases, their problem is due to their own neglect?

pramahaphil said...

Great post!!! there is a great documentary on this issue "Super Size Me".

Is it really all that ridiculous that the fast food restaurants are being sued? While yes it is absurd that some people eat there as often as they do (McDonalds calls people who eat more than three times a week, 'Heavy Users')but shouldn't fast food giants be held responsible for the food they sell. Drug manufactures and cigarette manufacturers are sued regularly for problems with their products -- Why should fast food restaurants be held to a lesser standard.

taylor said...

The way I see it we are all adults and should be responsible for ourselves. If we want to eat fast food we should be willing to except the consequences for it. I think it should be the same for smoking. Everyone knows how bad this stuff is, and still do it anyway. Take responisbility for yourself.

emily said...

I agree that the people in our country have become heavier than ever before. Somebody said that these people should be responsible for themselves and I totally agree with that as well. They have done this to themselves so they should have to take on the responsiblity. The government should have nothing to do with these people, and I can not believe that they are really giving them money. I'm pretty sure that they can spend that money on better things.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Bob's post for a poorly formatted link.

-1 on Taylor's comment for a spelling error.

I think you all ought to lighten up a bit. (Since I have a double chin and a belly I should talk - but bear with me while I walk you through some of the economics).

First off, food is cheap, and it is a normal good. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that we are fat.

But, why is food cheap? Because we're very good at producing it. Since food demand is inelastic, this means that it is getting harder to support yourself as a farmer. The natural course of markets is for that process to reduce supply so that prices are pushed up. In some sense, it should be impossible for a soceity to be rich enough to be have a weight problem.

Of course, we screw that up with subsidies. And, while floors raise prices on some products, they create surpluses elsewhere. Thus, we have high fructose corn syrup ... and lots of cheap cheese (there was a study last year showing that virtually all of the above normal calories in the typical American diet come from cheese).

Also, exercise has become relatively more expensive. You can't really burn calories more quickly, which means that as we get richer(and have better ways to spend our time) the opportunity costs of exercise go up.

Lexie said...

You have pretty cool blog here. What's up with these weird posts?

Anyway, I like your blog and will proably be back.

Take care.

Lexie

Oh and another cool site is a child diet site about other weight loss stuff.

Matthew said...

Dr. Tufte said that exercise has become more expensive because you can't burn calories more quickly and opportunity costs have gone up. This is so true and something I had never really thought about! Time is a commodity that really can't be multiplied – yes, we can do other things more quickly, allowing for more time, but there's still only 24 hours in a day. The only way it seems to make the burning of calories more efficient is to exercise more effectively with the exercises that burn more calories. An example would be to run uphill for 10 minutes instead of walking on a flat surface for 10 minutes.

Dr. Tufte said...

Exactly ... I could be riding a stationary bike right now and grading papers while doing it, but instead I've chosen to exploit technology to do this form of writing assignment, but I am tied to my desk to correct them.