In this story about City Manager A.C. Gonzalez hiring two new assistants, I stumbled across a stunning bit of information: “80 percent of those insured under the city’s health plan are overweight or obese. That ultimately costs the city tens of millions of dollars in preventable expenses.” A former assistant city manager, Forest Turner, is being reassigned to deal with this problem.
Eighty percent? Holy hell. That was my first thought. Then I started doing some math (which is a bit scary). Come along with me:
First, here’s how the CDC defines overweight and obese. A 5-foot-9 person who weighs 170 pounds is considered overweight. That doesn’t seem so bad. But the overweight range extends up to 202 pounds. If you stand 5-foot-9 and weigh 202 pounds, that’s an issue. So I’d really like to know what percentage of city employees are obese. If only 10 percent are obese, and the other 70 percent are overweight, then no biggie. And here’s the deal: 70 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. City employees, then, are only 10 percent worse than the U.S. average. Not good. But not as shocking as I first thought when I read that.
Except hang on. I think you have to go a bit deeper here. The city has about 12,600 employees. If I’m not mistaken, that number includes Fire-Rescue and DPD. The former has about 2,100 folks, the latter about 4,200. Both of those figures, though, include support personnel, civilians. In other words, not folks fighting fire and crime. So subtract them. Gives you 1,700 firefighters and 3,600 sworn cops. I mean, there are certainly fat cops. But just let me use my broad brush here. Feels to me like we’ve got 5,300 city employees who ought to be in decent shape — which makes that 80 percent look really bad. If you take firefighters and cops out of the equation — roughly 42 percent of the city’s 12,600 employees — then City Hall is really fat.
One more thing: I’d like to know what the stats are for DISD. I bet it’s even worse than City Hall.