Canadian lawmakers are talking sugar tax as obesity rates hit new all-time highs, reported the Globe and Mail on Mar. 1. In the US, 28% of Americans are obese–not just overweight (70 percent are that)–but obese with BMIs of 30+. The US is the fattest ever and gaining, despite endless health and weight loss initiatives. Obesity has toppled smoking as the health issue that causes the most deaths. Why? Here’s the skinny on why obesity is America’s #1 killer and why extreme measures like a sugar tax may be required.
Obesity has protected status. It’s the killer everyone knows and no one talks about, not really. Smokers are shamed and ostracized. Smoking is banned everywhere. But a blind eye is turned to obesity. No one wants to confront weight problems face to face. The same people who ream out smoking, hand-hold obesity. Now clearly, people shouldn’t be shamed for being fat, but neither should obesity be enabled, encouraged and funded.
Obesity is funded, you say–how? Obesity, #1 killer, accounts for 20 percent of healthcare costs. US taxpayers pay about 8 billion in Medicare to treat obesity and obesity related problems. Morbidly obesity requires multiple freakishly expensive weight loss surgeries at the taxpayers’ expense. If you want blame anything for jacking your insurance costs up, forget Obamacare. It’s obesity and obesity-related health issues–cholesterol, sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, leg and back problems, depression, anxiety, acid reflux, digestive problems, circulatory and heart issues, liver problems. Arguably, those aren’t all caused by obesity, but none of them are made better by being overweight and all could be improved by losing weight.
Obesity is protected you say–how? Countless bans surround smoking, alcohol, pot even some foods because of their associated health dangers. LGBT are banned from jobs and housing because they are deemed a “threat.” But suggest legislation to curb this #1 killer–sugar tax, junk food tax, soda pop bans, school sugar bans–and people go nuts that their civil liberties are being violated. Obesity has been shown to be more dangerous than any of those other things combined! Some data suggests obesity outranks car accidents as the #1 killer of adults.
Obesity is encouraged you say–how? Everywhere in society, accommodations are made for obesity, A large person may take up two movie theater or airline seats, but only one is charged for. They use disabled parking spaces, handicapped accessible vehicles, and scooters, thereby reducing the need for any exercise. People wait on the obese person because he can’t do for himself. Public spaces are built extra large to make room. Restaurant booths are double wide. Offices are having to replace regular-sized desks and chairs with super-sized ones. All these changes are expensive and complicated, yet a simple fix like a sugar tax meets with resistance?
Obesity is enabled you say–how? Obesity is also deemed disabled, earning welfare and SSI payments, special privileges, tax breaks, etc. Obesity renders people disabled from performing many jobs at work. So normal weight co-workers must compensate. Employers shy from hiring obese people so they have to go on government welfare assistance. Certainly, obese people may be disabled beyond extreme weight, but how many of said health issues stem from extreme weight? Which came first, the disability or the obesity? How many of those disabilities end with weight loss? Then there’s the revolving door of obesity–the more weight you gain more disabled you become and the harder it is to lose.
So the only way to really fight this #1 killer is legislation with teeth in it, like a sugar tax, it seems.