The Importance Of Obesity

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In the past years, the prevalence of obesity in adults around the world, particularly in the U.S.A., has risen significantly. Only 30% of Americans are within a normal weight range, putting them in a clear minority (1). Four in ten adults and one in five children have a BMI which classifies them as being obese, and the levels are rising annually (F. 1). Naturally, this has a multitude of effects on society, such as negative externalities. These can be presented in four categories: direct medical costs, human capital costs, productivity costs and transportation costs. This essay will focus on the transportation costs from an economic point of view. The laws of physics state that a heavier load requires more energy to travel the same …show more content…

The increase of passenger weight also greatly impacts the negative externalities of noncommercial highway travel. Every year, 39 million gal of additional fuel in the worth of $105 million are consumed per pound of passenger weight increase (2). In this case the MPB of obese passengers who own larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles to transport them is greater than the MSB due to the fact that more fuel is consumed and therefore greater amounts of CO2 are emitted. An eleven-pound decrease of the average weight could reduce CO2 emissions from this sector by 10 million T yearly, leveling out the difference between the MPB and the MSB from pollution (2). Since 2000, an additional 350 million gal of fossil fuel per year were required in order to transport passengers by airplane resulting from the extreme weight gain during the 1990s (3). Furthermore, this resulted in the production of 3.8 million T of CO2, one of the primary greenhouse gases (4,5). Naturally, the MPB of obese passengers being able to travel is greater than the MSB due to the increased use of fossil fuel and clean air. As shown, obesity creates an unnecessary over-consumption of fossil fuel and pollution to clean air which makes society as a whole worse off. Both the obese person, the consumer who is able to travel, and the fossil fuel extraction companies, the producers who earn more money, profit from the transaction and have a great MPB. Nevertheless, society is impacted in the long-term

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