America spends as much as $147 billion annually on the direct and indirect costs of obesity. In the year of the most recent CDC study, 2006, that made up 9.1 percent of medical spending. That is ridiculous. Republicans and Democrats fight over what healthcare will save the government the most money but they ignore one of the biggest costs. Obesity. Millions of Americans in this country are overweight or obese (66 percent of Americans). That is ridiculous! Look to your left and right. Two out of the three of you will be overweight or obese. The problem is not genetics when 2/3rd of the population is overweight. It is a cultural problem. The government needs to take action to control this epidemic. If it doesn’t Americans will have shorter lifespans and drown America in medical debt.
The first step needed by the government is the affordability of vegetables and fruits. A dollar in this country can buy well over 1000 calories in potato chips. With the same dollar, I could only buy 250 calories of carrots. I could buy 900 calories in soda for the same price as 250 calories in orange juice. This is ridiculous. We are advertising unhealthy food by price. Poor people as well as average Americans are more likely to buy the cheaper calories, regardless of nutrition. This is a big reason why Americans are consuming so much fat and calories. The salad is more expensive than the potato chips. If the government stoped subsidizing corn, and started subsidizing vegetables, more people could afford healthy, nutritious food. The greater availability of nutritious food would lower obesity rates, lowering the overall cost in healthcare.
The other problem with our culture is the workplace environment. Too many Americans are spending 10 + hours a day at the computer! That is an astronomical amount of time to be sitting. Your body is meant to stand, move, and exercise. With little movement or physical activity, your body starts to weaken and require fewer calories. Your hunger level doesn’t go down at the same rate. As a result, you gain weight. This is a harder problem to solve. The ultimate result for curing workplace laziness is standing and working. Standing burns twice as many calories as sitting. Workers who don’t want to stand can try a big rubber ball. When sitting on a ball, you constantly use muscles to maintain balance. This burns energy and keeps your body active.
I will continue this post next week.