20 Things You Didn't Know About... Obesity

Money for getting squashed in your airplane seat, our country's fattest state, the Monster Thickburger, and more.

By Jason Stahl|Monday, July 24, 2006
RELATED TAGS: OBESITY, NUTRITION

1. Child-safety seat manufacturers are starting to make bigger models after a recent study showed that over 250,000 U.S. children age 6 and under are too fat to use them.

2. According to a study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, nearly half the 4,000 people responding to an online survey about obesity said they would give up a year of their life rather than be fat.

3. Between 15 percent and 30 percent also said they would rather walk away from their marriage, give up the possibility of having children, be depressed, or become alcoholic rather than be obese.

4. Five percent and 4 percent, respectively, said they would rather lose a limb or be blind than be overweight.

5. From 1991 to 2000, the average weight of Americans increased by 8.5 pounds.

6. In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration increased its estimate of the weight of the average male from 170 to 184 pounds.

7. Airlines spent $275 million on 350 million additional gallons of fuel in 2000 to compensate for the additional weight of their passengers. Now we know why the peanuts are no longer free!

8. Stand by your man: More than a decade ago, Manuel Uribe, now weighing 1,200 pounds (the equivalent of five baby elephants) and bedridden for the past five years, was abandoned by his wife because she was frightened by his increasing size.

9. Virgin Atlantic paid Barbara Hewson from Wales the equivalent of US$24,100 in 2002 as compensation after she was squashed by an obese person sitting next to her on a transatlantic flight. Barbara suffered a blood clot in her chest, torn leg muscles, and acute sciatica and was bedridden for a month.

10. Duke University Medical Center found that women and men who lost 10 percent of their total body weight reported a significant improvement in their sexual quality of life.

11. Obesity ranks second among preventable causes of death. Tobacco use is number one.

12. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, of the 7.5 million veterans who receive their health benefits from the agency, more than 70 percent are overweight and 20 percent have diabetes, which may lead to blindness, amputations, and kidney and heart problems.

13. Two years ago, the Hardee's fast-food chain introduced the 1,420-calorie 107-fat-gram "Monster Thickburger." It contains two 1/3-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese, and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame-seed bun.

14. Mississippi is the home of the mud pie, Cajun fried pecans, sweet potato crunch, fried shrimp, and catfish. Mississippi is also home to the country's fattest people—more than 25 percent of adult Mississippians are obese. Coincidence?

15. Recent studies have shown that obesity can cause you to lose sleep.

16. On the other hand, a lack of sleep may result in obesity.

17. It's a vicious cycle.

18. Never forget your past: Aborigines and the Pima indians of Arizona developed obesity, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension after transitioning to a Western lifestyle.

19. If the entire morbidly obese population of the U.S. lived in one state, it would be the 12th highest-populated state, with more people than Virginia.

20. A 2003 study reported that 21 percent of all New York City elementary students from all income levels are obese.

Comment on this article
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
DSCMayCover
+

Log in to your account

X
Email address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it emailed to you.

Not registered yet?

Register now for FREE. It takes only a few seconds to complete. Register now »