Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Sometimes in life size isn't everything

By Ellen Gillette correspondent
November 2, 2002

Size does matter.

It matters to Barbara Hewson, injured on an airplane last year because of the "obese passenger" seated next to her. Virgin Atlantic settled last week for about $20,000.

Accompanying the news story was a poll: If girth requires two seats, who should foot the bill, passenger or airline? (I'd bump them to first class at the coach rate -- unfair to those in the cheap seats but better than offloading expenses for other accommodations or lawsuits onto everyone anyway.)

Size matters to 15 percent of children in the United States 6-19 who are, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, overweight. As kids' waists have expanded, so have juvenile rates for gallbladder disease, sleep disorders, and Type 2 diabetes.

Parents (and let's face it, it's their fault) can avoid this by breastfeeding, taking charge of meals (i.e. parenting), eating with kids at home, turning off TV during meals, watching for signs of diabetes, and encouraging exercise (formerly known as "playing").

Size matters to the health care industry. Adult obesity is a factor in myriad diseases. It matters to insurance companies who say policies for overweight clients are a bad risk. It matters to food manufacturers searching for the elusive combo of metabolic magic and "Mmm."

No comments: