There are many, many factors contributing to the current problems facing the United States in the healthcare arena. Yes, there needs to be tort reform. Yes, there is an aging population that is living longer and using more healthcare services. Yes, there are some insurance companies making windfall profits. Yes, there are antiquated or useless regulations on the books that prevent people, service providers, and insurers from making the right decisions. Yes, there are abuses in the system. But there is one area we often overlook as a short- and long-term fix: Fatness.
I wrote a piece a while back outlining how the push toward “political correctness” was a huge factor in America becoming so fat. Again, there are a lot of contributing factors other than political correctness, but that is not the point here. The point here, today, is that weight directly contributes to people’s health. People that are of average weight and body mass have fewer health problems that those of similar genetic disposition and heavier weights. Heart, skin, joint, bone, and organ problems arise from packing on the extra pounds. Diabetes has made an exponential rise in the US, and this is directly correlated to obesity.
But why is it such a problem? Well, America is a rich country. Rarely are the poorest of countries the fattest. Americans are victims of their own success! But seriously, terms like “fat” and “obese” are constantly discouraged out of sensitivity to those that fit the description making the condition more palatable for those who are deserving of the name. But are we doing the fat people any favors by calling them clever synonyms to comfort their egos? Or are we actually helping save their lives, and our healthcare system? People with weight problems go to the doctor and hospital more often for everything from diabetic issues, to sleep apnea, to heart disease, to kidney failure. Our terminology is costing us billions.
Now we have a healthcare bill being rammed through congress. Mathematically, we are looking at covering another 22 million people with a bill costs around $880 billion – approximately $40,000 per newly covered person. And how many of THESE 22 million are fat – costing even more to the taxpayer?
So what can be done? We can start letting people know that they are once again “fat”. We can allow insurers to surcharge people over a BMI of 30. We can stop promoting “plus-size” fashion shows and stop discouraging slender models. We can mandate more physical education in the public schools of all levels. Instead of government options and the costs therein, we can spend more on simple education for kids and parents on better diets. This will save our people real dollars, and not with smoke, mirrors, and gimmicks. For most people, obesity is an unconscious choice, and can be corrected. As this is the case, we as a county can’t allow our unconscious masses to bloat and overburden our healthcare system. Fix this, and many of the other problems will drip away.
Side note: If you want to learn more about diet, nutrition, weight-loss, health myths, etc. this blogger has written posts here, and is a subject matter expert, and an industry icon.
Filed under: Health, Politics | Tagged: Conservative, correct, Democrat, fat, healthcare, Independent, liberal, Libertarian, moderate, obese, overweight, Political, Politics, republican | 4 Comments »