Obesity may be America’s top health and financial risk. Recent news shows that if we continue to eat at the same rate we’ve been eating, and continue to sit at the same rate we’ve been sitting, then half of the US population will be obese by 2030. Obesity feeds virtually all other diseases, heightening their negative effects astronomically. The combination of obesity and other health ailments is skyrocketing health and financial costs, and everyone is paying for it.
According to research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity-related illnesses cost $147 billion/year. And that number is probably lower than it should be, since all illness is effected by being overweight. Medical costs increased from 6.5% in 1998 to about 9% in 2006 thanks to obesity.
Here are the health and financial risks outlined from a study recently published in the Lancet, a leading medical journal:
Rising prevalence of obesity is a worldwide health concern because excess weight gain within populations forecasts an increased burden from several diseases, most notably cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancers. The trends project 65 million more obese adults in the USA by 2030, consequently accruing an additional 6-8.5 million cases of diabetes, 5.7-7.3 million cases of heart disease and stroke, and 492,000-669,000 additional cases of cancer. The combined medical costs associated with treatment of these preventable diseases are estimated to increase by $48-66 billion per year in the USA by 2030. Hence, effective policies to promote healthier weight also have economic benefits.
Sometimes it’s a good thing when “bad” events take place. The power going out may seem like a “bad” thing, but it often results in more family time, activity, social interaction, and the realization that people need not rely on technology for everything. Similarly, if all of the junk were to disappear out of our cupboard tomorrow morning, many of us would be distraught. What can we eat?! Soon, everyone would realize that it’s easy to cope, and none of that fat-inducing, health-hazardous food was needed anyway. The key is to just not buy it. You don’t need it. Your body doesn’t even want it.
It’s easy to avoid these problems. Just about everyone knows what to do, but it’s just a matter of doing it. If the health of yourself, others, and the planet aren’t enough motivation, than you need to dig deeper to discover your own personal drive.
- Eat less processed food, and only consume organic food
- Exercise everyday, even if it is just a walk or simple bike ride. Park far away everywhere you go if need be
- Inspire others to eat healthy, be a role model. It’s fun to influence positively
- Make a game of getting fit or eating healthier. Maybe a mini-competition would help. Humans by nature are competitive, just remember not to get too crazy.
- Drink only water (buy a filter or another high-quality water filtration system)