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Obesity costs US at least $215 billion every year: study

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Obesity costs the US economy at least 215 billion dollars a year in direct and indirect impacts including medical expenses and lost productivity, a new study showed Tuesday.

The report by Brookings Institution researchers found that medical costs for obese adults amounts to 147 billion dollars more than for those with healthy weight, and the costs for children amount of 14.3 billion dollars annually.

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“Medical costs appear to have increased dramatically over the last decade and may continue to grow with future increases in rates of overweight and obesity in US adults and children, perhaps substantially,” said the researchers writing in the journal Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy.

In addition to these direct expenditures, obesity’s costs come from lost productivity, absensteeism, disability and premature death. The study also found that transportation costs may be higher because of heavier weights for airline passengers, for example.

“Total productivity costs are likely substantial, perhaps as high as 66 billion dollars annually for the US,” said researchers Ross Hammond and Ruth Levine of the Brookings economic studies program.

Although the costs of obesity have been analyzed in the past, less attention has been paid to other factors such as transportation and environmental impacts.

“Increases in body weight among Americans mean that more fuel and, potentially, larger vehicles are needed to transport the same number of commuters and travelers each year,” the researchers said.

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“This produces a direct cost (in the form of greater spending on fuel), as well as potential indirect costs in the form of greater greenhouse gas emissions.”

Obesity may also result in “human capital” costs such as levels of educational attainment, although these are more difficult to quantify.

The researchers said that based on some research, “Women who had been obese in the baseline survey had significantly fewer years of school completed (0.3 year on average). Likewise, they were less likely to be married, had lower household incomes, and higher rates of poverty. For men, the only statistically significant correlation was for marital status.”

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The study notes that obesity has grown into a major global epidemic; in the United States more than two-thirds of adults are now overweight including one third who are obese. As of 2002, nearly 500 million people were overweight worldwide, the researchers said.


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Trump attorney Sekulow’s impeachment defense of president blown out of the water with Lindsey Graham statement

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On Saturday, one of the biggest opening arguments made by President Donald Trump's legal team at the impeachment trial was that there was, in fact, a risk that Ukraine had meddled in U.S. elections.

"Mr. Schiff and his colleagues repeatedly told you that the intelligence community assessment that Russia was acting alone, responsible for the election interference, implying this somehow debunked the idea there might be in — you know, interference from other countries, including Ukraine," said Trump counsel Jay Sekulow. "This is basically what we call a straw man argument."

But MSNBC's Brian Williams knocked down this defense with a clip from none other than one of President Donald Trump's biggest allies: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

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So much for ‘originalism’ — Trump’s impeachment defense is a constitutional dumpster fire

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In the absence of any exculpatory evidence, Donald Trump's defense against impeachment increasingly relies on arguments that fly directly in the face of the Constitution. Trump himself set the standard last July with his grandiose claim that "Article II says I can do anything I want," which encountered no serious pushback from his fellow Republicans.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump lawyer Purpura busted by MSNBC for lying on the Senate floor during impeachment trial

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Moments after the end of the Saturday's Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump concluded, MSNBC host Brian Williams pointed out that one of Donald Trump's attorney's lied on the Senate floor about the president's Ukraine scandal-- and he had a clip handy to prove it.

Sharing footage of attorney Mike Purpura stating the higher-ups in Ukraine were unaware that Donald Trump was withholding aid until after the government helped him by announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, the MSNBC host called the attorney out.

To make his point that Pupura was being untruthful, Williams then showed a clip of Defense Department official Laura Cooper, who testified that Ukrainians were asking about the delay on the day of the Trump phone call that was the starting point of the impeachment trial.

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