In 2009 and now 2010 health care reform and affordable insurance plans are in the works, maybe it will happen in the near future, maybe. I was encouraged by the President's speech and heard his hope to reduce waste by streamlining care, reduce needless surgery, make preventative tests affordable or free and reduce preventable conditions through education and wellness programs. In my opinion, this cannot happen with the majority of the population showing such a rapid rise in preventable conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and much more.
In January of 2002 I was very encouraged by the words of the Surgeon General. The following is what I wrote at that time:
Health Report 2002
The Surgeon General issues a community call to action as health problems resulting from overweight and obesity could reverse many of the health gains in recent decades. In preparation of this report several strategies were reviewed for their proven scientific effectiveness. Two important ones being to:
1) Change the perception of obesity so that health becomes the chief concern, not personal appearance.
2) Educate health care providers and health profession students on the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity across the lifespan.
"Overweight and obesity are among the most pressing new health challenges we face today," Health & Human Service Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "Our modern environment has allowed these conditions to increase at alarming rates and become a growing health problem for our nation. By confronting these conditions, we have tremendous opportunities to prevent the unnecessary disease and disability they portend for our future."
Surgeon General David Satcher recently said "Overweight and obesity may soon cause as much preventable disease and death as cigarette smoking. People tend to think of overweight and obesity as strictly a personal matter, but there is much that communities can and should do to address these problems." Administrators of Insurance Programs and employers need to take a serious look at Preventative Health Care Programs and the importance they play in reducing healthcare and insurance costs for everyone.
Obesity among adults has doubled since 1980, while overweight among adolescents has tripled. Only 3 percent of all Americans meet at least four of the five federal Food Guide Pyramid recommendations. Forty percent of adults engage in no leisure-time physical activity at all. Weight loss, while the long term goal, should not be the initial goal of a successful return to a health/obesity reduction program. The first results should be: increased energy, better thinking power, sleep better, an added spring to the step, in general feeling better. Bodyfat reduction is the best true guideline, rather than weight loss. Many of our current popular diet programs promote weight loss, but with bodyfat percentages increasing and health risks increasing with these weight loss programs. We can see the results of the last few decades of dieting. Arthritis, diabetes, hypertension are for the most created by a few years of poor eating. Modern medicine can keep us alive longer, it's up to us to improve the quality of those years.
Remember the above was written almost 10 years ago and obesity figures have only increased since then. No longer can it be assumed that only the unlucky few get these preventable conditions and it's just the luck of the draw. Even heredity might not play the part that many believe. What a difference healthy eating and moderate activity could make. We as individuals need to take responsibility for what we ingest and our activity levels. The old adage move it or lose it has proven very true.
Wanda Sykes in a recent comedy routine joked about health care reform, saying that she's for it but apparently some aren't. Adding that it should be for everyone, well.....everyone except competitive eaters because "if you eat 65 hot dogs in 20 minutes and your hearts stops beating....then that's on you." Well, that and I'd have to add if you eat poison and junk every day for the majority of your eating, well maybe that's on you. Until the majority of the population, rather than the minority, understand and practice a healthy lifestyle, insurance can never be affordable.