Take a Hike: Would an Extra Dollar a Gallon Keep People Thin?

Ever been at the gas station watching some really fat guy pumping away and think, "I betcha if gas cost more, that dude would weigh less?"

Well, graduate student Charles Courtemanche has.

According to Courtmanche, who is working toward his Ph.D. in economics at St. Louis’s Washington University, a $1 increase in gas prices could cut obesity in the U.S. by 15 percent over five years.

Can’t you just hear the boys over at Shell Oil licking their lips over this one?

Courtmanche says that a simple $1 price hike would prevent 16,000 deaths and save the country $17 billion a year, mostly in medical expenses. For one thing, he says, with less money to spend, fewer people would dine at restaurants and they would be forced to eat less overall.

What does this have to do with Houston? Well, nothing, except the fact that Texas is consistently ranked among the fattest and most unhealthy states in the union. But as Texans, we also love our cheapish gas and gas-guzzling mobiles.

Dilemma, dilemma. What’s a fat-ass SUV-lover to do? – Chris Vogel


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