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Forbes reports on the so-called “hidden costs” of the nation’s obesity crisis, which it describes as “immense.” According to the story, “Direct medical costs are easiest to calculate, coming in at $93 billion, or 9%, of our national medical bill. But there are other costs as well that are harder to pin down.”

Among the most noteworthy costs – an estimated $4 billion lost each year when overweight and obese people miss work because of health problems related to their weight. And while most people don’t know it, overweight people get worse mileage from their cars, which costs them money, and airlines have to spend more money on jet fuel when their planes carry overweight people.

“There's a tremendous social cost to obesity,” David Allison, an obesity researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, tells Forbes. “Obese people are less likely to be given jobs, they're waited on more slowly, their less likely to be given apartments, they're less likely to be sent to college by their parents.”

Researches tell Forbes that there doesn’t seem to be much incentive for employers to deal with workers’ weight problems, simply because “the average employee only stays at a job for 4.5 years, and it actually takes far longer for health problems due to being overweight to emerge.”

At the same time, USA Today reports that “women who are overweight or obese at 18 are at a greater risk of dying in middle age than women who stay at a healthy weight in their teens,” with “the most common medical cause of death was cancer (including breast, colon, endometrial and kidney cancer), followed by heart disease.”
KC's View:
We’d like to say something profound about these stories, but we can’t get past the fact that a 400-ton airplane actually gets worse mileage because of the weight of the people on board.