Last year, my colleague Catrional Wells wrote an article for our sister publication flights.co.uk entitled Too big for his seat, about an overweight co-passenger she met on a flight back from Italy. It generated a fair amount of comment at the time but I now see that the topic has been re-opened in the guise of ambulances and hospital facilities for over-weight patients and injured car drivers.
British people are getting bigger! we will soon be up there with our American cousins as a nation of the obese. Too many burgers, too little exercise and perhaps, too much sitting in front of TV and computer screens.
As the headline ran, “Re-sizing Britain” with the need for bigger hospital beds, larger ambulances and stretchers, and the knock-on consequences of stronger bed lifts and re-enforced examination tables.
If you are not directly affected, it is easy to see the funny side of much of this. But, there are some pretty serious implications. Hospitals are now regularly dealing with people weighing 30-stone. Some of these are clinically obese and some are relatively fit and well but “big boned” as we used to say.
The serious concern is that if you have an accident on the road and need medical help, you may simply not fit the profile for care. Ambulance crews may not be able to move you. OK, some of this is due to Health and Safety considerations but even with a willing crew, a 30-stone unconscious patient stuck inside a car has to be a challenge.
Very sadly, there were reports last year of a 30-stone gentleman who died of a heart attack leaving his wife with the problem of finding an undertaker and a crematorium that could accept his body. It would seem that there are also limits on coffin sizes and the authorized capacity of crematoria.
Perhaps, we have to expect the motor insuarnce companies to pick up on this and add exclusions or price hypes for overweight drivers.
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Mrs Jenkins, Nottingham
4 February 2011, 05:08PM
My husband is a doctor and he has always said that thin people were at risk because they were less protected by body fat so had an increased risk of bone fractures.
Jim Manley, Wolverhampton
4 February 2011, 10:27PM
I used to work as a driver for Stagecoach and they took this issue seriously. At our depot, we were encouraged to go to the gym and keep fit and were given discounted membership.
8 February 2011, 09:00PM
Seriously? Higher insurance for larger people? What is there going to be, an online dropdown box for your weight and the lighter you are the less you pay. How honest are we really going to be, not to mention the fluctuation that can take place over a year. At what point are the insurers going to decide you are overweight? Are they going to need your BMI? I agree to an extent with the clinically overweight and obese, but more often than not such individuals are already at the point where they cannot drive let alone squeeze into the car!
10 February 2011, 10:28AM
I think this has to be a job for the manufactures to get their cars right for big people. Sometimes big people can only afford small cars and that means that they are at risk.
11 February 2011, 10:29AM
I can see the point but there is a danger that the insurance companies will pick up on this as another revenue source.
11 February 2011, 03:32PM
Are you really trying to say that ambulances and hospitals would not take someone just because they are too big? Surely, in an accident, it is their job to do that. Why should we pay more on insurance?
17 February 2011, 04:31PM
We need to take this issue seriously. People are getting bigger, and there will be problems in the future with insurance, it will not take long for them to cotton on to the fact that this could be an extra source of revenue. People need to act on their weight issues
4 April 2011, 11:41AM
God this is insane. There have always been overweight people so I do not understand why all of a sudden fat people are being penalised!
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