A person stands next to a Church's Chicken restaurant on July 24, 2008 in the South Los Angeles area of Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

The growing obesity epidemic is impacting Americans in ways they may not yet be aware of. The costs associated with taking care of  the transportation, health and safety of America’s consistently growing obese population are all being passed on to taxpayers. A new substructure to accommodate obese Americans in public places is yet another costly expense. Because these costs are not reported as much as the impact of obesity on health care, some Americans aren’t fully aware of the financial burden they are bearing.

Reuters reports that there are already costly overhauls taking place in hospitals and within the public transposition sector. “U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. In addition to those expenditures, it’s been revealed that, “cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.”

Some are comparing the startling cost of the obesity epidemic to costs associated with smoking related illnesses. It wasn’t until Americans became aware of the damage cigarette smoking had on one’s health and until the public and legislators became aware of the devastating impact of second hand smoke. Eventually, Congress passed legislation to restrict smoking in public facilities.

Health advocates are hoping that creating greater public awareness of the costs related to obesity will spark the same type of response.

Follow Caryn Freeman on Twitter