This Obese Orangutan Represents Everything Wrong With America

Josh Fatzick | Reporter

She is obese, refuses to exercise and her diets just don’t seem to work. She sounds like an average soccer mom, but she’s actually an orangutan at the National Zoo.

Lucy, as the orangutan is called, weighs in at a whopping 185 pounds, when an average orangutan weighs just 100 pounds and has serious health problems, The Washington Post reports.

Lucy spent hours Thursday in a Washington, D.C. area hospital getting all sorts of medical tests after she began wheezing excessively.

Doctors performed X-rays, took blood-work, checked her stomach contents and tested her for tuberculosis, among other things, and it was all done on the taxpayer’s dime.

The Smithsonian Institution, which runs the various museums in D.C., also manages the National Zoo, and according to it’s website, the organization receives about $820 million from the federal government annually.

During her X-ray, doctors noticed that Lucy’s lungs were much lighter in color than they should be, which can sometimes be caused by heart disease.

After the receiving the litany of tests at the hospital, an outside veterinary cardiologist, Steve Rosenthal, came in to check Lucy, the orangutan that weighs almost twice what it’s supposed to, for heart problems.

Amazingly, her heart appeared to be in good shape. Next came the body check, which Lucy scored less than stellar on.

“Zoo nutritionist Erin Kendrick felt Lucy’s spine, ribs, shoulders and hips to see how much fat she was carrying. Kendrick then scored her on a scale of one to nine — with one being emaciated and nine obese. The best range was between four and six. Lucy scored an eight,” the Post reports.

Each year in America obesity accounts for 9.1 percent of all medical spending, which according to Center for Disease Control estimates, came to $147 billion in 2008 and the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Between 1998 and 2006 alone, obesity rates in America rose by a staggering 37 percent, so it is safe to assume that obesity related health issues cost Americans more in 2015.

Lucy’s doctors said she needs to lose about 25 to 30 pounds, but her diet has been largely unsuccessful and the doctors have zero hope that she will start exercising.

So, instead, Lucy will most like live out the rest of her days being a fat, happy “diva” who spends most of her days sitting by her window and vying for the attention of passers-by at the zoo.

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Tags : district of columbia national zoo smithsonian institution
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