According to a new report, based on current trends in just nineteen years half of all Americans will be obese. This disturbing fact should worry all of us for the obvious health reasons and because it impacts all our pocketbooks.
As the number of obese Americans grows, it increases the number of cases of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases, which in turn strains on overburdened health care system. The increased strain on the health care system leads to higher premiums and costs for all Americans.
We’re in a health crisis, but Republican Party icons such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck mock efforts by people such as Michelle Obama who are trying to encourage people to eat better and exercise more. They rail against Obamacare, but forget an essential truth when satirizing healthy initiatives: The fatter Americans get, the higher the health care costs are for all us.
The report notes that:
"Changes over the past century in the way food is made and marketed have contributed to the creation of an ‘obesogenic’ environment in which personal willpower and efforts to maintain a healthful weight are largely impossible… Though the report acknowledged that it’s ultimately up to individuals to decide what to eat and how to live their lives, it maintained that governments have largely abdicated the responsibility for addressing obesity to individuals, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations. Yet the obesity epidemic will not be reversed without government leadership, regulation, and investment in programs, monitoring, and research," it said.
You see the difficulties of eating healthy every time you visit the grocery store. For example, it’s cheaper to purchase a frozen pizza than a bag of grapes. Since Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the country, our poverty creates a vicious cycle of obesity and health problems. To feed their families, many Arkansans purchase unhealthy food due to it’s comparative low costs in relation to fruits and vegetables and their unhealthy diet leads to obesity. The obesity leads to health problems and since many can’t afford health insurance, they wait to seek treatment until their health problems are more complex and more expensive to treat. Arkansas is in the top ten of states with obese adults.
Our nation’s food supply system is so schizophrenic it seems the only people who can afford to eat healthy are the wealthy. It will take changes in government policy and farming subsidies to fix the problem.
Republican Party leaders continue to mock and stall efforts to get Americans to eat healthy and exercise more, but their actions hit us where it hurts – our health and our wallets.
Here’s a link to an article about the new report.