Bad news, good news: obesity, less driving


A new study is predicting that 86 % of Americans could be overweight by 2030, if current trends continue. Among the population 51.1 % are projected to be obese. Health care costs due to the overweight would be 16 – 18 % of the total health care costs (via John Hopkins Bloomberg school of public health, and Wired). I have covered the growing obesity problem and related issues (here and here) previously but I am not sure how much a difference it makes. Of course my voice doesn’t account or matter much, but the institutes and government sources that are the source of this data are heard by all, but I am afraid are not really listened to.

While all the government reports appear to do nothing to change our behavior, on the other hand a change in peoples wallets does appear to change behavior according to some new data.

The good news is that Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer miles this May compared to a year ago. According to futurepundit (read his complete piece) this translates into a 3.7% decline. Suggesting that people are telecomuting, taking the bus, train, or bike according to the news reports and public mass transit data (of course the government has to worry now about the reduced taxes collected). This would go along with my piece suggesting one possible good outcome of the rising cost of gasoline will be more people will choose to bike to work, which may reduce obesity and increase fitness.

So it appears that the bottom line financial reality is enough to get people to change their habits (they had no choice), but not a continuing growing waistline and all the subsequent health complications.

I will try to reduce my reporting of the negative health data since it does not really appear to influence the people that need to change and instead try to cover more positive data of the potential health benefits the occur when people do change.

2 comments for “Bad news, good news: obesity, less driving

  1. CC
    July 29, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    What people hope to hear is news of a ‘magic pill’ to cure obesity, or to make us live longer.
    But I don’t think there will be and the only solution is to work out more, eat less.
    Please keep on reporting those negative health data! Make people aware!