Should People Be Taxed for Being Obese?

That and other hot topics on the iVillage message boards

A proposal in Germany to tax the obese has got a lot of people talking. According to one news article, obesity-related illnesses cost the Germany’s public health system $21.7 billion a year. Marco Wanderwitz, a conservative member parliament, said it was unfair for all taxpayers to carry the financial burden of people who knowingly lead unhealthy lives. Of course, that assumes that everyone who is obese is purposefully engaging in unhealthy behaviors.

On the Hot Topics in Health boards, cl-bostonsteve says he believes obesity isn’t simply a matter of eating too many wiener schnitzels. “Generally, I agree with the researcher who points out that lifestyle is only one contributing factor to obesity, with genetics and urban environment both also playing major roles.”

“I found this very disturbing,” says nightangel67, who called the proposal “discriminatory.” After all, she points out, “A person can be unhealthy at any size.”

Still, not everyone thought it was a bad idea. “I'm going to have to completely agree with this. It's time those who are irresponsible to pay the piper,” says gingerails.

What’s your take? Should obese people be taxed to help pay for government-subsidized healthcare? Chime in below!

Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite
Last week, we reported on the rise of bed bug infestations all across America. Since 2000, outbreaks have grown by 81 percent. Though experts believe they don’t carry or transmit diseases, the bugs, which feed on human blood, can leave itchy, red welts. Because bed bugs are among the most difficult pests to exterminate, they can also wreak emotional havoc on people whose homes they choose to infest. Just writing about it made my skin crawl. iVillagers who read about it had similar reactions.

“That is just icky,” says yyletha on the Insomnia and Sleep Disorders message board.

Many of the readers who responded to the article also had bed bug experiences of their own to share. Recycledmom’s mom found bedbugs in the hotel they had just checked in to. They immediately packed up and went to another hotel.

Becca wasn’t so lucky. She didn’t think to inspect her hotel room, and now has an infestation in her home. “We are getting treatment for bed bugs right now. Turns out, we brought them back from a beach trip this summer. It cost $700 to get rid of them. That was one expensive beach trip,” she says.

In response to the outbreak, web sites have cropped up that allow travelers to post recent bedbug sightings. Before booking your hotel, you may want to check these sites first and then follow up with the hotel.

What’s your take? Should obese people be taxed to help pay for government-subsidized healthcare? Chime in below! Have you ever had bed bugs? Tell us about it.

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