Attention: are you obese, and do you work in a government job and live in South Carolina? Well if you said yes to those questions, do we have a surprise for you, courtesy of the good tax-payers of the Palmetto State. In an attempt to curb the state’s growing obesity problems, starting in January, South Carolina will cover gastric-bypass surgery through its state health plan. As of now, they will only be covering 100 people statewide, on a first-come first-served basis, but many people think that this will only scratch the surface. Obesity rates in South Carolina have doubled since 1990 with 30 percent of adults being defined as overweight. Has the obesity epidemic expanded to the point that we'd rather use an invasive procedure than take small steps earlier for prevention? And is obesity becoming the new alcoholism, a problem once associated with morals that’s now being pathologized?
William McCarthy, Adjunct Professor, Department of Health Services at the UCLA School of Public Health