Health Care, Responsibility and YOU

This country is rife with controversy about the future of our health care system. Is health care a right? Is the single payer solution reasonable? Are we moving toward Socialism? Our leaders usually answer this question based on the side of the aisle they sit in Congress. This manner of thinking has led our country into difficult territory. We have created health care legislation that many do not believe will work, some think was the reform we needed, and others who simply see this as the first step toward a single payer system.

As you read this you have probably already thought about the different aspects of health care, and you most likely have your own opinion deeply ingrained into your mind. Regardless of your own personal feelings about which system is better, you have a responsibility to the future of this country.  It is up to you as an individual to take care of your body to limit your impact on the system.

The following numbers are the mind numbing statistics related to obesity in the United States.

Did you know that obesity costs our health care system an estimated $147 Billion dollars per year?  That is just an estimate.  The true cost of obesity is often much greater than published because obesity is linked to so many other health problems.  If we take into account all of the money being spent in this country due to obesity the number would approach the trillion dollar mark.

34% of adults over the age of 20 are obese.
34% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight.
(This means that 68% of the American adult population is overweight)
10% of children aged 2-5 are obese.
20% of children aged 6-11 are obese.
18% of adolescents aged 12-19 are obese.

If we were to chart obesity numbers over time we would see a graph that looks something like this.

File:USObesityRate1960-2004.gif

 

A timeline of obesity rates in picture format would look something like this.

Just looking at the above pictures should be enough to open your eyes.  We are slowly and steadily becoming a fatter nation, and we consistently top the ranks of being the fattest developed nation in the world.  Does this make any sense?  We have more resources available to the individual in this country than in any other place around the globe, yet we cannot even take care of our own bodies.  In the coming weeks I will discuss the obesity epidemic in greater detail, and over time you too will come to understand the task at hand.  You will begin to see the impact that the advancement of technology has had on our waistlines, and will come to understand what our future holds if we do not begin to act now. You will learn the value and importance of physical activity and exercise as a means to achieve wellness, and I will discuss the value of nutrition and the importance of understanding your own bodies needs. Lastly you will see how education can be a key contributor to the reversal of the obesity epidemic.

Until the next time, remember, your first responsibility to health care in America is taking responsibility for yourself.