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Old 09-11-07, 07:47 PM   #1
seeker333
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AP: Higher gasoline price seen trimming down Americans

Higher gasoline price seen trimming down Americans

Tue Sep 11, 4:43 PM ET

Higher U.S. gasoline prices may slim more than just wallets, according to a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.

Entitled "A Silver Lining? The Connection between Gas Prices and Obesity," the study found that an additional $1 per gallon in real gasoline prices would reduce U.S. obesity by 15 percent after five years.

The report, written by Charles Courtemanche for his doctoral dissertation in health economics, found that the 13 percent rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling pump prices.

Gasoline hit a low of less than $1.50 per gallon in 2000 before moving back to a record high of $3.22 in May 2007.

Higher gasoline prices can reduce obesity by leading people to walk or cycle instead of drive and eat leaner at home instead of rich food at restaurants.

Courtemanche said he became interested in the link after rising gasoline prices made him think about eschewing his car for public transport.

"I was pumping gas one day, thinking with gas prices so high I may have to take the Metro," he said, referring to the public transportation system serving the St. Louis area.

Courtemanche said he figured he would get an extra 30 minutes of exercise per day by walking to and from the Metro station.

Obesity, defined as having a body mass index greater than 30, has been considered to factor in as many as 112,000 deaths annually.

U.S. health costs related to obesity are estimated at $117 billion per year as studies sponsored by the U.S. government have linked it with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:53 PM   #2
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Higher gasoline price seen trimming down Americans

Tue Sep 11, 4:43 PM ET

Higher U.S. gasoline prices may slim more than just wallets, according to a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.

Entitled "A Silver Lining? The Connection between Gas Prices and Obesity," the study found that an additional $1 per gallon in real gasoline prices would reduce U.S. obesity by 15 percent after five years.
I have to wonder: is the predicted 15 percent decline in obesity associated with higher gas prices due to more exercise, or a decreased ability to eat super-sized meals?
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Old 09-11-07, 09:46 PM   #3
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Bullcrap. There were many factors that could have contributed to rising obesity rates. There's no way to establish that cheap gas did it. And it's no indication that obesity rates will fall in the future if gas becomes more expensive.

Americans did drive a few less miles last year, for the first time since the early 1980s, IIRC. But not enough less to account for much weight loss, IMO.
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Old 09-11-07, 10:09 PM   #4
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It said it WOULD reduce obesity rates not that it did.

Obesity rates increased again last year.

It makes sense to me. I am car free and have burned around 133,000 calories already this year biking for transportation.
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Old 09-11-07, 10:14 PM   #5
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I'm skeptical, though it would be nice if I'm needlessly so.
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Old 09-11-07, 10:18 PM   #6
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I'm skeptical, though it would be nice if I'm needlessly so.
what?
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Old 09-11-07, 11:05 PM   #7
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Wow! Think what's going to happen when they come up with new energy efficient fuel systems. The textile industry couldn't meet the demand for all the extra cloth people will be needing then. Prius owners will gain 15 pounds after they buy their cars. I mean, if it works one way, it's got to work in the other.

And when did AP start tapping into doctoral dissertations as news? My brother in law did his doctoral dissertation on 18th century Russian poets and AP never reported on that.
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Old 09-12-07, 12:27 AM   #8
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It said it WOULD reduce obesity rates not that it did.

Obesity rates increased again last year.

It makes sense to me. I am car free and have burned around 133,000 calories already this year biking for transportation.
I read it to say that low gas pricing DID increase obesity rates up til now, and higher pricing WILL decrease them in the future. If Ii'm reading it right, these are very dubious conclusions.

As for individuals, I agree that riding a lot might reduce obesity.
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