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Old 07-27-2004, 11:11 AM   #1
Barry Cooper
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This is probably the most compact and thorough summary of the problem and prospective solutions I've seen:
http://www.thepublicinterest.com/current/article3.html

I know this has been hashed to death, but all of are contributing money every day to the "fat people's fund".
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Old 07-27-2004, 11:36 AM   #2
Andrew Brown
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I'm not sure I buy the argument that insurance rates shouldn't be raised for the obese because of the genetic component. I get charged more for being a male...and all genetics aside, nobody becomes obese without consuming more calories than they burn.

Check the following link. It's like the anti-crossfit. ( http://www.naafa.org )
Interesting quote: "Although these statistics apply to all types of diets, even those considered "sensible," physicians continue to prescribe weight-loss diets as a viable treatment for fat patients; and researchers, the media, and the diet industry continue to urge fat people to resist their body's natural predisposition and struggle harder to lose weight. As diet failure rates become widely publicized, some "experts" pretend to abandon "dieting" and encourage their clients to "just eat less and exercise more.""

eating right and exercising more is an evil medical establishment plot!
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Old 07-27-2004, 11:39 AM   #3
Barry Cooper
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I think insurance rates ARE higher for fat people. I keep seeing the Body Mass Index all over the place. The big questions insurance companies always want to know are: are you sick now? Are you fat? Do you smoke?

I've also been asked if I rock-climb, scuba dive, or skydive, but only crazy people do that sort of thing.
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Old 07-27-2004, 11:40 AM   #4
Barry Cooper
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BTW: that was a JOKE about the skydiving. I know what kind of site this is.
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Old 07-27-2004, 12:47 PM   #5
Mike Minium
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Barry,

Great article--thanks for posting it.

Disclaimer: As a math/economics/statistics guy (at least per my schooling), I'm probably predisposed (i.e., biased) toward applauding articles that analyze an issue with a statistical slant, instead of looking for more sociology-based explanations.

A few off-the-cuff observations:

1. Clearly, the solution for obesity is to have more people start smoking and to get the women out of the workforce (kidding, just kidding!).

2. Great discussion of externalities. This issue often goes totally undiscussed in matters of public policy.

3. The crux of the article comes down to the following passage:

But does it [obesity] carry a high enough social cost to make it a concern of public policy? The answer is no if consumers are fully informed, and if the obese bear all the consequences of their actions. The answer is yes if consumers do not have full information or something that reasonably approximates it, or if third parties like Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance companies and ultimately the non-obese end up bearing significant amounts of the costs.

Figuring out the answer to this question (yes or no) is not easy.


Mike

P.S. Skydiving is fun.
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Old 07-27-2004, 01:54 PM   #6
Lincoln Brigham
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I pay for obese people in the form of reduced medical benefits at work, due to rising costs, and poorer service at the doctor's office, due to increased emphasis on disease care for the obese which translates to reduced health care for the non-obese.
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