Obesity is killing Americans faster than a speeding train. OK, I might be exaggerating, but this disease, flagged as an epidemic, isn’t getting any better unless we as a society start actively living healthier lifestyles. Obesity causes a host of diseases and health problems that include high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, joint problems, and even death.
That all seems par for the course, but did you know that obese individuals are more likely to die in car accidents? According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was an 80% increase in fatalities in traffic accidents for obese individuals. What could be causing obese people to die more often in car accidents? An obese drivers’ lower body is ejected farther before the seat belt safely engages the pelvis, plus the extra tissue on the driver stops the seat belt from fitting snugly, thus making it harder for the driver to be held safely upon impact.
Another factor at play is the design of cars. Researcher Thomas M. Rice said, “Vehicle designers are teaching to the test – designing so that crash test dummies do well. Crash-test dummies are typically normal size adults and children.”
That’s not the only surprising effect of being overweight. Our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD, informs us about other facts that make improving your health an even greater priority.
1. Obese job applicants are less likely to be hired than lower weight applicants with the same qualifications. Obese applicants are perceived to be unfit for jobs involving face-to-face interactions.
2. Osteoarthritis of the knee and hip are both positively associated with obesity, and obese patients account for one-third of all joint replacement operations.
3. Obesity is emerging as a major cause of infertility. Obesity can trigger hormonal imbalances that lead to irregularities in menstruation and ovulation. In men, obesity leads to poor sperm quality and erectile dysfunction.
4. $100 billion is spent treating obesity and the problems caused by it each year. That’s what U.S. Rep. David Cicilline said the United States spent on the war in Afghanistan in 2012 alone, according to Politifact.
5. Child-safety seat manufacturers are starting to make bigger models after a recent study showed that more than 250,000 U.S. children age 6 and under are too big to use the seats currently available.