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The Cost of Obesity on the American Health Care System

Jul 9th, 2009

obesityAmerican cooking it is good. Some people would go as far as to say that no better food can be found anywhere on the planet.   However despite as good as American cooking may be, are Americans eating healthy? The fact is the way Americans eat is causing a health crisis at this time.  All those pastries, and fried foods are literally killing us.  Though it is true that traditional homemade cooking like biscuits and brown gravy has been a main staple in many American homes of the past, the rate of obesity was not as alarming as it is today.  The American lifestyle has changed over the years.  Many homemakers of today also work outside the home and have less time to produce traditional hearty and healthy meals.

More and more Americans are eating out at fast food restaurants or ordering restaurant food in home rather than cooking their own. Greasy fast foods such as French fries and hamburgers, fried chicken, and pizza are affecting the general health of Americans.  In fact most fast foods whatever they may be are saturated with cholesterol. Bad cholesterol – LDL-C is responsible for weight gain and medical conditions including obesity, kidney failure, hypothyroidism, Cushing disease, and more.

Take the bad eating habits of Americans, lack of exercise, and sedentary lifestyles and you have a recipe for disaster. America is an overweight nation and despite the media coverage and warnings given out by various health groups, the situation is not about to change in the near future. Furthermore, approximately 80 percent of the nation’s doctors do not offer dietary services, citing that lack of funds is a major deterrent for the services at this time.

Congress is currently looking at different ways to reform the health care system and they are concerned about the nutrition and dietary needs of Americans.  They are taken the warning from physicians seriously that preventative measures will curtail the possibility of chronic disease resulting from poor eating habits.  Several organizations including the WHO (World Health Association), the American Dietetic Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health, all agree that obesity is a chronic disease.

To date the US health care system treats diseases related to obesity but does not recognize obesity as the cause of these various diseases. It does not treat obesity as a disease on its own. Yet millions of Americans are obese and do go to the doctors for various diseases such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome for treatment and medication.

The American Sports Data organization stipulates that the obesity stats were measured at 13 percent in 1962, and by 2000, it has grown to 31 per cent. According to the body mass index, 63 percent of Americans are overweight (over the 25.0 index), and 31 percent are actually obese (over the 3.0 index).  More alarming still, is that childhood obesity is over three times higher than it was just twenty years ago.

Most of the research stats documented are primarily focused on body mass.  Looking at actually body weight, according to the recent findings by IHRSA/ASD Obesity Weight Control Report, they concur that American population is overweight.  They cite that over 3.8 million Americans are presently overweight, with 400,000 individual reaching over 400 pounds. These stats are of epidemic proportions.  The average American woman weight in at 163 pounds indicating that the average American woman is not physically fit and is running the risk of future health problems.

If the stats continue at this rate of growth, the situation with hit crises levels; with about half of all Americans becoming overweight or obese in the next few decades. As it stands, the Surgeon General Report points to 300,000 deaths resulting from obesity related diseases in America each year.

The Centers for Disease Control and prevention cite that chronic diseases of which obesity is included are responsible for a whooping 75 percent of the 2 trillion dollars that the USA is currently paying for health care every year.

Besides the health risks for obese individuals, there is a strain on the health care system and the health insurance companies are also feeling the strain.  Obese people are in a higher risk category than a healthy person and therefore use the benefits more than others.  What this does is to jack up the insurance premiums for all insurers and they are far too high as it is.  Also, some health insurance companies will charge higher premiums for the obese individuals while others will not insure them at all.

Everyone is effective by this growing obesity crisis. It is not limited to obese people.  Average-weight Americans are footing the bill in many cases. All segments of society must intervene to make a healthier America.  Governments, researchers, health care professionals, health insurers, media, social aid, social activist groups, the fast food industry, family, friends and the obese themselves must pool together to find solutions to this growing problem before we eat ourselves to death.

"Vista Health Solutions" Tel (888)215-4045 Email [email protected]