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Obesity costs go beyond medical bills

Obese man

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A new study says being fat and out of shape
isn't just bad for your heart and medical bills.

Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman has that.


MITCHELL HARTMAN: With more than two-thirds of Americans tipping the scales as overweight or obese, the economic impact spreads well beyond medical costs.

Worker productivity is also suffering, says Ross Hammond of the Brookings Institution.

ROSS HAMMOND: Absenteeism and disability in the workforce -- those could add up to as high as $66 billion a year.

There are environmental costs as well.

HAMMOND: Much higher levels of fuel use for transporting heavier passengers -- both on airlines and passenger vehicles.

And more greenhouse gases because the humans are bigger, and we ship more food to feed them. They also generate more organic waste, but let's not go there first thing in the morning.

There are solutions out there, says Matt Lerner of Walk Score, which ranks cities based on how easily you can get around.

MATT LERNER: People who live in walkable neighborhoods on average weigh seven pounds less...

Than folks in neighborhoods where you have to drive to stock up on more chips and guacamole.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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