The financial reality of overeating.
Sommaire de l'article
OBJECTIVE: Obesity has been linked to frequency of meals eaten outside the home and the associated large portion sizes. These large portions, which have been shown to promote overeating, are often offered for a small additional cost which may appear economical to the consumer. The aim of this study was to calculate additional costs from medical, gasoline, and increased caloric needs that result from weight gain attributable to overeating and thus provide consumers with added incentive not to upsize their meal, or overeat in general. METHODS: The effects and costs of overeating were estimated for men and women with a BMI of 22.5, 27.5, and 32.5 by conducting a Pubmed search for relevant literature combined with US statistics obtained from open Federal and other websites. RESULTS: Among fast food restaurants, the average upsized meal increases energy content of the meal from 927 to 1324 kcal at an added cost of Dollar 0.67. Because the regular meal is already 37% of a 2500 kcal diet, the extra energy of upsizing is likely to be in excess of need and thus potentially stored as 36 grams of added adipose tissue. This hypothesized weight gain predicts an average increase auto fuel cost by Dollar 0.05 for both men and women, maintenance food cost by Dollar 0.36 and Dollar 0.35 for men and women, respectively, and health care cost from Dollar 0.82 to Dollar 6.64. CONCLUSIONS: These calculated costs exceed the value of upsized meals and may provide motivation to some consumers not to upsize their meals. The same rationale can be applied to other environments notorious for encouraging overeating. Thus, this information could be presented to individuals along with other more well publicized health risks and consequences during weight control counseling.