Stronger car brakes, special toilets and even plus sized wheelchairs: The rising cost of America's expanding waistline
The nation's rising rate of obesity has been well-chronicled, but now businesses, governments and individuals are coming to grips with the costs of those extra pounds.
U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients.
The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.
The additional medical spending due to obesity is double previous estimates and exceeds even those of smoking, a new study shows.
Many of those costs have dollar signs in front of them, such as the higher health insurance premiums everyone pays to cover those extra medical costs. Other changes are coming into the overall scenery as wider seats are used in public places like sports stadiums and bus stops.
The startling economic costs of obesity, often borne by the non-obese, could become the epidemic's second-hand smoke.
Only when scientists discovered that nonsmokers were developing lung cancer and other diseases from breathing smoke-filled air did policymakers get serious about fighting the habit, in particular by establishing nonsmoking zones. The costs that smoking added to Medicaid also spurred action.