Should Obese People Have Higher Premiums

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Guoyi Chen

Should Obese People Have Higher Premiums
The Obesity epidemic affects millions people of the United States every day. According to the National Institutes of Health, “obesity” refers to any individual with a BMI of more than 30 and BMI is simply a calculation that assesses weight relative to height (NIH). In the past decades, the number of obese Americans has increased dramatically. Based on the data from Nation Health and Examination Survey, about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). It is well documented that people who are obese are more likely to have so-called “obese-related” health problems such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the government has spent about 122 billion dollars annually to cure people who have obese related health issues and this number is still increasing. Because obesity costs so much annually, some people suggest that people who are obese should pay higher insurance rates because they place a heavy burden on the government and use more health care resources than non-obese people. On the other hand, others hold the opinion that it is unfair for people who are obese and it is kind of discrimination if they need to pay higher insurance rates than non-obese people. The important question that worth to notice here is that what causes obesity? Some people suggest that obesity is more about “nature”. It has something to do with genes because obese people would transfer their “obese gene” to their offspring. Other people believe that it more about “nurture” because an unhealthy life style could leads to obesity. However, according to NIH, “obesity is mainly caused by consuming more calories than the body needs – most commonly by eating a diet high in fat and calories, living a sedentary lifestyle, or both.” (NIH). That being said, most people who are obese that way are because they do not care about their health so much and prefer an unhealthy lifestyle, therefore, those people should pay higher insurance rates because they choose to behave in ways that pose risks to their health. To begin with, people who are obese should pay higher insurance rate because they choose to ruin their health by choosing unhealthy food rather than healthy food. The choices on food have a close connection with people’s health problems. Based on the definition that was given by NIH, obesity is caused by eating a diet high in fat and calories. That is to say, people’s choice on food affects this problem significantly. Nowadays, people have lots of choices on food. There are always many health options available to people besides unhealthy food. However, some people would like to choose food that contains high calories rather than fresh vegetables, fruit etc. They are more likely to eat food such as cheeseburgers, pizza, soft drinks and fries. It seems like these kinds of food are relative inexpensive, faster to get and even more delicious in some degree. But from a different point of view, these kinds of food contain many calories, which could causes obesity problems later on. One possible reason that people choose eat those unhealthy food might because they think fresh vegetables, fruit and even fresh proteins are expensive for them so they have to eat things like fast food instead since they do not have high incomes even if they want to buy those healthy food. But a good question that worth to think about carefully here is that “Are these “healthy” food options really more expensive than “unhealthy” food?” Take “fast-food” as an example. According to Mark Bittman, the author of the article “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper”, which published in New York Times, a typical order for a family of four is two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two...
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