Paying for Your Super-size Meal
> 6/2/2006 9:10:22 AM

Super-sizing your meal at the drive through window is almost a no-brainer. For an extra 50 cents you can have a half gallon of soda and nearly twice as many delicious french fries. While the national average of "up-sizing" a fast food meal was calculated at 67 cents, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that the actual cost of super-sizing your meal is actually much more than that.

The difference comes mostly from the added expenses incurred in the form of gas, food bills and health care costs. The school's press release spells out all the gory details:

They found that for the initial 67-cent average cost of upsizing a fast-food meal — and the subsequent 36-gram weight gain — the total cost for increased energy needs, gasoline and medical care would be between $4.06 and $7.72 for men and $3.10 and $4.53 for women, depending on their body type.

Looking at those numbers, the economics should make the decision for you.

The bottom line: Although upsizing a meal brings you 73 percent more calories for only an additional 17 percent in price, the hidden financial costs drive the price of that meal up between 191 and 123 percent.

“While there's an immediate savings in upsizing a meal, we've shown that the hidden costs balance that initial savings, and actually surpass it,” says Schoeller. “People might choose to change their behavior because of financial consequences, if the health consequences of obesity are not yet a factor in their lives.”


Also, don't forget: Pediatric Grand Rounds submissions need to be into by 5pm tomorrow (June 3rd).

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