Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Pounds for Stimulus

In a recent interview with CNBC’s Money Honey, Maria Bartiromo, financier Michael Milken proposed that the U.S. economy could be stimulated through weight loss. Has the Junk Bond King lost his marbles?

Milken is no slouch. He knows economics and he knows the U.S. economy. Look past that felony conviction for racketeering and securities fraud at the facts behind Milken’s talk about health care reform through prevention and cure, of which weight loss is part.

Milken points out that people in the U.S. have gained more weight in the last twenty years than any other society in the world.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average weight for men aged 20-74 years rose dramatically from 166.3 pounds in 1960 to 191 pounds in 2002, while the average weight for women the same age increased from 140.2 pounds in 1960 to 164.3 pounds in 2002. The annual Gallup Poll Social Series Health Poll showed that 24% of the U.S. population claims to weigh more than 200 pounds with an average weight of 174 pounds (men, 191 pounds and women, 159 pounds). This compares to 15% over 200 pounds in 1990 and an average of 180 pounds for men and 142 pounds for women in 1990. Of course the Gallup Poll was relying on self-reported weights in the survey and as such could be a bit low.

Ok, so we are a bunch of piggies. What is Milken’s point? Well, all that excess fat is costly in terms of health care costs, not to mention energy consumption (it costs more to run a car full of corpulent versus thin passengers) and workplace inefficiencies (absenteeism from health problems, etc.).

According to estimates by the Milken Institute, a think tank that publishes research on market-based principals and financial innovations, as much as $1.0 trillion (that is trillion with a T) could be saved in health care expenses if the U.S. population went back to the average weight for men and women in 1991.

Milken wants people to lose weight so that $1 trillion could be redeployed to cover the uninsured and to pay for medical research. This means jobs and reduces pressure on federal tax dollars, both of which would be stimulative.

Makes sense to me. So how about it? Could you pledge a few pounds for this novel economic stimulus package? I would be happy to pledge my five excess pounds.

Next post, a look at weight loss stocks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Invesp is launching its second annual list of the Top 100 Most Influential Internet Marketers.

Vote for Jordan Kasteler.

Jordan Kasteler is a seasoned professional and an SEO consultant specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing, and all aspects of Internet Marketing. He is currently available for SEO consulting and full-service Internet marketing through my Utah SEO Firm Search & Social.

To vote, follow thislink: http://www.invesp.com/2009/top-100-marketers-of-2009.html

Please vote for him daily. Voting ends midnight of 12/13/09