influence of obesity


Most of what we see in the media these days regarding obesity are warnings about the hazards of over indulgence. Heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, loads of orthopedic problems color the pages of several health sections of any local paper.

Several entrepreneurial folks have capitalized on our nation’s gastronomical greed with endless new diets, appetite suppressants, and exercise plans that promise youth, vitality and a slim profile. We have been lured to the bait and swallowed the hook spending I dare say billions of dollars on empty promises to become thin. For years the human race has as a whole has demonstrated its lack of effecting will power. The pain of denial is worse than the pain and guilt we feel after we indulge.
For many of us eating has become less of a means of subsistence and more of an occupation. The age old adage of eating to live has been mutated to live to eat. Every action has at least once consequence; obesity has several, none of which are attributes that one can or should claim with any dignity.

The growing waist lines of this country are adding to the growing cost of healthcare. Hospitals are spending countless thousands of dollars on hospital equipment and supplies that fit our new large image. Wheelchairs and commodes that look like chair lifts that hold four skiers are designed for one patient. Lifting equipment to reposition patients that looks as if it should be used in a garage or some other industrial setting are now common place as too are the “BigBoy” beds that hospitals purchase or rent for patients that don’t fit on a standardized stretcher.

Hospitals are investing huge amounts of dollars to provide care to their huge patients, so too have our community emergency response services had to follow suit. Fire departments and emergency medical services of all types are now being compelled to purchase expensive bariatric stretchers that can accommodate up to 1600 pounds of patient. There is nothing small about this new generation of ambulance stretcher. The parts are over-sized, the capacity it carries is over-sized and so is the price tag.


The key elements in all this over sized medicine that is difficult to manipulate are the size of the rescue and healthcare personnel that have to lift our huge mass. It used to be that calling 911 would get you to the hospital quickly, but not anymore. The time is coming when rescue personnel and healthcare providers will need more than just a bowl of Wheaties to schlep our ailing overindulgence to the hospital or provide care for us.

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