How Much Are the Obese Costing Texas? Almost $10 Billion, Study Says
Hey, Fatty McFatfat -- put down that honey-glazed ham and step away from the buffet table, because you and your kind are costing Texas nearly $10 billion a year.
Gravy-stained canklesaurus rexes not only raise healthcare costs but add extra expenses to "various industries," including manufacturers of "bathroom fixtures such as toilet seats, showers and bathtubs," according to the State Comptroller's new obesity report, Gaining Costs, Losing Time: The Obesity Crisis in Texas. Fat people even cost businesses after they've waddled off this mortal coil: other businesses adversely affected include "cemetery supplies, including caskets, hearses and plots."
The report, which comes complete with disturbing images of kneecap-fat and porkers trying to keep their pants up with thick suspenders, claims that the obese cost Texas businesses $9.5 billion in 2009, which is nearly triple the 2007 estimate of $3.3 billion. And, much like their waistlines, the fattie population is expanding.
"The Texas state demographer projects that, if current trends continue at the pace of the last 10 years, by 2030, 36.7 percent of Texas adults will be obese, 36.4 percent will be overweight, and only 26.9 percent will be at normal weight," the report states. (Weight estimates for senior citizens were not even included, ostensibly because every old person will have been eaten by those 36.7 percent.)
What's more, the "new estimates show that obesity could cost Texas businesses $32.5 billion annually by 2030."
So how to stem the tide of tallow? Nothing surprising, really: The report recommends introducing nutrition and healthy-lifestyle programs into all public schools; encouraging restaurants to "list calories and nutrition content on menu items"; allowing farmers' markets to accept food stamps (for serious); and a bunch of other things that will never happen.
Suspiciously, the report mentions nothing about the possibility of shipping the obese to other states/countries, or making them pay some sort of BMI-based fat tax. Of course, if those estimates are right, we'll probably be obese in the next few years anyway, so scratch that. Just bring us another cheeseburger.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.