In the National Briefing section of today’s New York Times I found the following blurb:
COAST GUARD RECOMMENDS RISE IN WEIGHT ESTIMATES The Coast Guard recommended that operators of small boats raise weight estimates for passengers to reflect that Americans have grown fatter since the first standards in 1942. The recommendation arises from an investigation of an accident in which an overloaded water taxi capsized in Baltimore in 2004, killing five people. The operator assumed that the average passenger weighed 140 pounds, based on Coast Guard standards. Last October, a tour boat on Lake George, N.Y., the Ethan Allen, capsized, killing 20 of the 48 people aboard. The Coast Guard settled on a voluntary standard of 185 pounds until new rules are established. (AP)
I hope that the FFA has been more diligent in increasing the average passenger weight for airlines making weight calculations. I’ve flown a lot recently and I can tell you that the average passenger weighs much more than 140 pounds.
The excess avoirdupois that many of us are carrying is much more than just a cosmetic problem and, as this piece points out, it’s even more than a health problem only to the overweight individual. Since it is a health problem for a given obese person that can affect those nearby perhaps we should call it second-hand obesity.