A state in northern Germany has purchased several heavy-duty ambulances to accommodate obese residents, the Local reported Wednesday. The vehicles will be safer for both the patients and those emergency workers entrusted with transporting them.
The vehicles and the stretchers will be slightly wider, and the ambulances will be equipped with hydraulic lifts to help take some stress off the backs of emergency workers when they transport obese patients from stretchers into ambulances. These vehicles will be capable of carrying people weighing up to 400 kilograms, or approximately 882 pounds.
“We've noticed that many patients don't weigh 75 kilos these days, but often a lot more — that's the basic reason we've chosen to get these heavy-duty vehicles,” Schleswig-Holstein rescue services spokesman Christian Mandel told the Local. “We want to make sure that patients are treated safely and with human dignity.”
The 75-kilogram figure is often the weight given for the average adult male, and it is approximately 165 pounds. That understanding of average weight may be changing, however, as approximately half of all people in Germany were either obese or overweight, according to a 2011 Gallup poll.
Around 13.7 percent of Germans were obese, and 36.4 percent were overweight, according to Gallup. Those numbers paled in comparison with both the U.K. and the U.S., where 23.3 and 26.1 percent of people were obese, respectively.
Men in Europe were more likely to be obese than women, according to data collected 2006-10 by Eurostat, the official statistics agency of the European Commission. Obesity in women ranged from 37 percent to 56.7 percent, and it was 51 percent to 69.3 percent in men. The lowest proportions of obesity, according to the same data, were found in Romania, Bulgaria and France, with the highest rates seen in the U.K.