Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Have you read he latest study on the "costs" of obesity? There are many interesting statistics which have been pulled together from a number of other studies and put into a report by George Washington University researchers. Most of it we have heard over and over about the health care costs being higher and work productivity being lower. This report even adds in the cost of clothing and gas - guess what? Higher.

One thing that makes me mad is that they report that wages for overweight women are lower than wages for overweight men. Men are not penalized for their weight in the workplace, at least when it comes to salary, but women are. Dig deeper in the study and you see that you are less likely to even be hired if you are overweight and white. The highest number of overweight women working are African American.

They do not examine the attitudes behind the lower salary and hiring decisions. I am sure they want it everyone to think it is all about the numbers. But it is well known that working mothers miss more days of work than working fathers because that is how families traditionally handle sick children. If the woman happens to be overweight - she is counted for this as being related to "obesity." Thus overweight women have higher absenteeism. These studies don't scratch the statistic to find the reality underneath and that bothers me.

In the study they suggest more research needs to be done on the reason health care costs are lower for obese African American women. They also admit that more needs to be done to break out the gender related medical costs. You think? Women, by virtue of our biology have higher medical costs, what with child birth and all. Tossing all of that together and calling it obesity related is very misleading and self serving.

Just as misleading is assuming that every medical intervention has to do directly with one's weight. My skinny sister has sleep apnea and so do I, but I am sure mine is "related to my obesity" in some statistic somewhere.

I know I am pretty sensitive on this subject. I am very healthy. I missed one day of work for sickness in five years. My health issues do not relate solely to my weight. (ie: I know that my knees will be happier when I lose more but my bad knees are genetic and I am in my mid 50's.)   I do not have heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.

I am tired of feeling like I am the scum of the earth, the cause of our societal problems and that I deserve all the trouble I had getting a job because I am fat. I am tired of being a scapegoat along with the smokers, welfare cheats and  illegal immigrants. Even the bankers are treated more nicely...

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Sometimes it feels like fat people are such easy, acceptable targets.

I'm glad you pointed out how the statistics are manipulated to prove a point. It's annoying as hell to have this kind of stuff cited as indisputable fact.