Fat & Fuel: Obesity and the Airlines

Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 11:14 am
The original story appeared in American Journal of Preventive Medicine and has been gleefully picked up by the world press.


Airlines in the USA are getting concerned at their rising fuel bills because their passengers are getting fatter. Americans put on 4.5 kilos during the 1990's. In the year 2000, airlines in the USA had to use an extra 1.3 billion litres of fuel to carry their overweight passengers.

According to a new government study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) airlines are becoming concerned at this rising cost. The extra cost in the year 2000 was $275 million (US airlines).

This extra weight airlines have to carry also increases the amount of carbon dioxide airplanes emit - an extra 3.8 tonnes every year.

This is another consequence of America's obesity problem, says the CDC - the problem being environmental (and financial).

Obesity has been rising steadily throughout the industrial world and a great part of the developing world as well. The problem is more acute in the USA, where 65% of the adult population is overweight or obese (56% at the beginning of the 1990s).

Some people say the problem is mainly due to bad diet, others say it is because of lack of physical activity. The problem is probably due to a combination of both - poor diet and inactivity.
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Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 05:47 pm
'Course people could also just pack less in their carryon luggage.
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Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 07:02 pm
....and send their checked luggage in another plane.
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Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 09:26 pm
It's done already Noddy.
I've traveled twice now and my luggage arrived 2 days
later in another plane http://www.borge.diesal.de/schiel.gif
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Reply Fri 5 Nov, 2004 09:32 pm
Calamity Jane--

Big Brother is watching--and he's co-opted the Scales of Justice.
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Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 01:07 pm
And guess what, the prices have risen commensurately.
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Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2004 01:19 pm
Exactly Clary, they love to complain, but they will never suffer financially.

Not to say it isn't a health problem, but when a corporation complains, I admit to a knee jerk skepticism.
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Reply Fri 21 Jan, 2005 05:43 am
Here's a thought! McDonair! 747 with a big golden M on the side! That way all the fatties will crash together and us non-greedy people can fly in relative safety and COMFORT!!!
IF the trends continue and there is just ONE more terror incident using a plane, I doubt the airline industry will survive. Unless of course it is state run.
Seriously though, Airlines should worry. You should all worry, as emissions go up America continues to maintain its position as Number 1 polluter of the planet. And with a President that shirks Kyoto, what future do we have???
Solutions: 1. HAVE an environmental policy that is PROPERLY overseen by an independant body. 2. Take fast food out of your schools! Education shouldn't be funded by Coca Cola, Pepsi or McDonalds. 3. If your kids have to eat a Big Mac, get them to run 20 miles a day to burn it off!
4. Make the seats on planes SMALLER so that the fatties can't sit in them or 5. Weigh people at check-ins, the same way we do for luggage. "Sorry Sir your thirty pounds over the weight limit, it's gonna cost you an extra $400 for this flight!"
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