A new study estimates that the health care costs associated with excessive weight amount to $78.5 billion a year, putting gluttony in the same ballpark as smoking. Significant differences in medical expenses were found mainly for the obese, as opposed to the merely overweight. Since one-third of Americans qualify as obese while two-thirds are considered overweight, these findings could make a war on fat more politically salable. By focusing on people who make the portly seem thin, perhaps the government could win majority support for a campaign, modeled after the anti-smoking crusade, that vilifies, stigmatizes, and ostracizes a sinful, irresponsible minority.
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