Obesity War

Cherry red summer apple isolated on white

We’ve all seen “that guy” cruising through the departments of big box stores. The one with those cheeks and rolls pouring over the seats of mobility scooters winding his way through the aisles.

For the truly obese, mobility scooters and power chairs are often the vehicles of choice.

At first I thought retailers were just catering to seniors by lining up several mobility scooters at the entrances of their establishments. But once inside I frequently find they have been taken over not by the elderly, but the obese.

There is a serious problem in this country we are not addressing.

Obesity is costly. According to the American Obesity treatment Association obesity-related health care costs totaled an estimated $117 billion in 2000. I imagine that price is even higher now.

Between 1987 and 2001, diseases associated with obesity accounted for 27% of the increases in medical costs.

Medical expenditures for obese workers, depending on gender and severity of obesity, are between 29% and 117% greater than expenditures for workers with normal weight.

From 1979–1981 to 1997–1999, annual hospital costs related to obesity among children and adolescents increased, rising from $35 million to $127 million.

I know, in this day of trillions in federal spending, $200 billion hardly makes a dent. But as is often stated: a billion here and a billion there…pretty sooner or later, you’re talking real money.

Mechanical mobility isn’t always the best solution for the overweight. There are limits scooters can safely carry, but there don’t seem to be limits to the weight people can pile on.

All manufacturers have weight capacity limits that can safely be supported on their mobility scooters clearly states in the instructions, usually 250 to 300 pounds.

Exceeding these limits can cause mechanical parts to fail or the scooter may break down. Some may not even move. There are heavy duty scooters are available for riders over 300 pounds.

I think the mobility scooter can sometimes be an enabler to the overweight who find walking an inconvenience. Walking can be a real pain for the overweight and most often requires a real incentive. It must stop somewhere. Americans and citizens worldwide must realize excessive weight is unhealthy.

Combatting the Scale

Many of us need to change our eating habits; a few less trips to the drive-through comes to mind. Here are some other actions to change:

  • Eating too fast
  • Always cleaning your plate
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Eating while standing up (may lead to eating mindlessly or too quickly)
  • Always eating dessert
  • Skipping meals (especially breakfast)

It is time to either take some serious steps to lose weight, like an exercise regime, or park the mobility scooter and get moving on your own accord If you’re able.

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About Reg Hardy

Reg Hardy is a candid 73 year old Navy veteran who lives with Multiple Sclerosis. Years of using a wheelchair gives him a unique insight into the challenges faced by those with mobility issues. He lends his distinctive voice to two websites that share his passions– scale modeling and helping others meet their mobility challenges. Reg is now writing exclusive content for AMS.

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