11 July 2006

Obesity in America

Animated map of obesity levels in America.

3 July 2006

When we talk about globalization, it's not only globalization of goods and services; it's people and their history, including incubating diseases

Another dark side fo globalization, an "externality" incurred by Americans both in terms of physical health and taxpayer cost.
The virus landed in Boston on April 26, a Wednesday. It was brewing inside a young computer programmer who had flown in from India, brought over for his expertise by a financial services company headquartered in the city's tallest skyscraper.

He went to work on the 18th floor of the John Hancock Tower, and on May 5 the hallmark symptoms of measles began to appear: fever, cough, rash. Then, like a stone tossed into a lake, the disease rippled outward, with measles striking a half-dozen other workers at Investors Bank & Trust, five on the same floor.

By last week, four additional cases of the potentially lethal illness had been confirmed. Their link to the programmer is more tenuous, but city health authorities say they believe that all 11 cases in the state's first measles outbreak since 1999 can be traced to that single visitor.

The result: The state has distributed or ordered 23,000 doses of measles vaccine, at a cost of nearly $400,000. Hundreds of people at three workplaces have been ordered to stay home until they can prove they aren't susceptible or until they have passed the incubation period for the disease. And disease detectives have scoured medical records, examined office air-flow patterns, and conducted dozens of interviews in their quest to understand and stop the outbreak.

While I don't subscribe to the all-out hysteria ventured by some on this matter, it is an aspect of immigration and globalization that is hardly acknowledged, but a truth that places a cost on natives in more than one manner.