TUESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) — Adult obesity rates increased in 31 states during the past year, leaving an estimated two-thirds of Americans vulnerable to fatal diseases such as diabetes, stroke and cancer.
This, despite federal and state government efforts to curb the overweight epidemic, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health.
The report, titled “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies Are Failing America, 2006”, was released Tuesday and is the third in a series of annual reports by the trust detailing state obesity rates as well as the effectiveness of government policies to fight the problem.
According to official figures, the adult obesity rate rose from 15 percent in 1980 to 32 percent in 2004. Combine that with the number of Americans who are overweight but not obese, and the figure stands at 64 percent. And the childhood obesity rate more than tripled between 1980 and 2004, from 5 percent to 17 percent.
How does a society raise its obesity rate from 15 percent to 32 percent in only 24 years? 32 percent. One third of America is grossly overweight.
I’m not sure what the answer is here. Government intervention, i.e. coercion, is just about always a terrible idea; I tend to value free market solutions to problems, but it should be obvious to all that the free market is not working here.
Judging by all available evidence–including using my own eyes–many people are either (a) too ill-informed, or (b) too lazy and gluttonous, or (c) both, to take care of themselves and their families.
Here are some simple facts: we take years off our lives when we don’t take care of our health. One of the best ways to not take care of oneself is to eat poorly and not get any exercise, and wait many years until the systemic poisoning has taken a huge toll, and then demand medical care to correct for a lifetime of lifestyle choices. This costs all of us more money, in the form of higher insurance premiums and higher taxes. And for what? So we can pig out at McDonald’s three times a week, and keep our body’s immune system suppressed 24×7, resulting in chronic health issues? So we can sit on our asses all day, and rationalize away the need to get some exercise, because “we’re too busy”?
I suppose people should be free to kill themselves in slow motion, if they so desire. But why should I subsidize people who refuse to eat, and get exercise, as if their lives depend on it? Which, in point of fact, they do.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: foods can be either nutritious, or poisonous, or somewhere in between. You can either nourish your body, and build it up, and keep your immune system healthy, and feel good. Or you can eat lots and lots of yummy grease and bad fats and white flour products, and drink lots of sugary liquids, and slowly poison your liver, kidneys, and pancreas, and suffer all the health effects that come with killing off the very organs that can protect your health long-term. And then, when you get old and suffer from many and various debilitating ailments, you can expect doctors to magically fix up all this organ damage by cutting you open or giving you some kind of pill.
The medical establishment, of course, has no reason to want us to be healthy. They lose revenue that way. Think about it. Sick people need health care. Well people don’t.
HMOs and health insurance companies are more interested in passing along the high costs of health care than in forcing us to change our habits so that we don’t need the health care in the first place. Doctors and drug companies are always–ALWAYS–more interested in giving us a pill to manage our symptoms, incurring God-knows-what side effects, than in actually restoring our health by forcing us to make different lifestyle choices.
It’s what they do, and who they are. Of course, I paint with too broad a brush here, but generally speaking, it’s true.
Nobody can look out for your health but you.
We’ve gone stark raving mad over food in this country. And we really, really need to get a grip on ourselves.