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Obesity surcharge would be intrusive

February 18, 2009
by Editorial Staff
Greenville News

Sen. Greg Ryberg believes obese public employees in South Carolina should pay an extra $25 monthly for their state health insurance, arguing that workers' weight problems can place a significant burden on the health-care system. While that surcharge certainly would work as an incentive to get those employees to live healthier lives, it's setting a bad precedent for government, as an employer, intruding further into the private lives of employees...

The state often is ranked among the fattest in the nation by the Trust for America's Health. We can thank a diet heavy in fatty fried food and sugary snacks for that dubious distinction. Officials also blame South Carolina's sedentary lifestyle. One in four South Carolina adults doesn't exercise at all. Poverty is a big factor as well. People in poorer, rural communities have easy access to high-fat items and less access to healthier food, officials say.

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