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Obesity a crushing weight on U.S. health care

Posted by on Aug. 17, 2009 at 9:36 AM
  • 39 Replies

Obesity a crushing weight on U.S. health care

Obesity is the elephant in the room of health care reform, a public health catastrophe that kills more than 100,000 Americans a year, cost the nation $147 billion last year and threatens to shorten U.S. life expectancy for the first time since the Civil War.

Whatever Washington does this year to reduce medical spending seems likely to be swamped by the nation's rising weight. Obesity lurks behind the top chronic illnesses - heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and colon, breast and prostate cancers, among many others - whose treatments routinely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

One of every three Americans, and one of every four Californians, is obese and rates are rising at an alarming pace, particularly among children, experts say.

"Rising obesity rates are increasing health care expenditures per person in a way that is going to be very difficult to finance," said Jay Bhattacharya, a doctor and health economist at Stanford University's Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research.

"Unless there is some vast improvement in the efficiency of the health care system - and I mean vast - we're going to be spending a lot more just because a lot more people will have diabetes" and other obesity-related diseases, he said.

Obesity is all but impossible to treat. Prevention is the only cure. Yet while health care legislation in Congress would increase spending on prevention of chronic disease, it does little to tackle the underlying obesity epidemic directly. Most of the bills are silent on what many health experts contend would be one of the most effective weapons: a tax on soda.

Junk-food taxes are part of a push to adapt the successful fight against tobacco to the more complex obesity epidemic. Food, unlike tobacco, is necessary to life, and cheap food has all but eliminated hunger among the poor; yet there are many striking parallels between unhealthy eating and smoking.

State a leader in fight

California is proving a bellwether in the campaign against obesity, introducing novel prevention strategies under a remarkable collaboration between nonprofits and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a body-building Republican who launched his political career pushing fitness.

Legislation that took effect in the state July 1 has put calorie labeling on chain-restaurant menus, while nonprofits, led by the California Endowment, a health foundation, are conducting groundbreaking experiments that range from farmers' markets at Oakland schools to public park upgrades in the Salinas Valley town of Greenfield. California was the first to set nutrition standards for food sold in schools; now half the states do.

Still, such moves are up against a barrage of junk-food marketing, sedentary lifestyles, and federal farm and transportation policies that make processed fats and sugars cheaper than fresh food.

"We know exactly what to do about the obesity epidemic," said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy in Davis. "Every successful public health movement, whether it was sanitation or air pollution or drunk driving or tobacco, has shown that people can only be healthy if there are policies in place that support them in making healthy choices."

Recipe for obesity

Imagine a vast national experiment to encourage weight gain, Goldstein said. "We put fast food on every corner, we put junk food in schools, we got rid of P.E., we put candy and soda at the checkout stand of every retail outlet you can think of .... The results are in. It worked."

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's plans to establish public vegetable plots and eliminate junk food from city property sounds preciously Left Coast but may be the vanguard of an ambitious national movement that aims to redesign cities and the way people eat.

Two Northern California cities - Arcata (Humboldt County) and Orinda - limit fast-food chains, while Los Angeles limited them in the South Central district after finding that 30 percent of children in those neighborhoods were obese.

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee mocked proposed jungle gyms and bike trails in health reform legislation, yet studies show such efforts help.

"It doesn't sound crazy if you start looking at the causes of the problem," said Kelly Brownell, an obesity researcher at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. "In poor neighborhoods there is low access to healthy foods, high access to calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods, and when healthy foods are available, they're more expensive."

The same holds for physical activity, where crime, poor facilities and parents working multiple jobs limit opportunities for safe play. "You put all this together," Brownell said, "and you have a picture that is maximizing calorie intake and minimizing calorie output, and there's your recipe for obesity."

Epidemic hit quickly

Life expectancy in the nation, rising since the Civil War to nearly 78 years now, could be halted or even rolled back as a result of Americans' weight gain and the chronic diseases that accompany it, many experts believe.

The obesity epidemic took hold over just one generation, a stunningly short period in the history of public health, said Marion Standish, program director for the California Endowment. Efforts to change individual behaviors have failed miserably; researchers now are focused on changing the environment that has fostered weight gain to prevent obesity in the first place.

"Policymakers who ignore or ridicule prevention do so at their own peril," Standish said. "Cost data just released by the Centers for Disease Control show there is no doubt the health care system is going to bear the brunt of this challenge."

Obesity by the numbers

$147 billion- Obesity-related medical spending in the U.S. in 2008

$15.5 million- Medical costs related to obesity in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties in 2006

50- Percent of California adults who don't exercise enough

33- Percent of children born in 2000 likely to develop diabetes

30- Percent of adult Americans who are obese

20- Average number of days a year an obese person is unable to work

16.7- Percent of American children who are obese

Source: Chronicle research

Obesity defined

An adult with a body mass index, or BMI, between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, while a score of 30 or higher is considered obese. Find your BMI at links.sfgate.com/ZHWJ.


Read more:http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/08/16/MN8F194A71.DTL#ixzz0ORmU3gSh
by on Aug. 17, 2009 at 9:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Jynnifer292
by on Aug. 17, 2009 at 10:08 AM

What needs to be done is the FDA needs to stop allowing food companies to put chemicals and ingredients into food that are meant to addict you to it and make people weight loss resistant.  School lunches are repulsive, but children are allowed to walk through lunch lines and buy french fries, cookies, and lemonade for lunch. MANY school food programs are supplied with products by the same companies that make all crap food in the grocery store. Then these kids go home and sit on thier butts and play video games.

Also, I think the whole "obesity is costing us money" is the same as "smokers are costing us money". There is always a scape goat for the exhorbitant costs of medical care and insurance. I pay out the nose for my health insurance not because neighbor it fat but because the insurance companies can get away with it.

Crap food companies pay BILLIONS of dollars every year to advertise their food. Children see easily a thousand of these commericals in a year just watching Saturday morning cartoons.

In order to change habits, the root of the problem needs to change. Kids that have a strict diet at home are MORE likely to pile junk food on their trays in school at lunch time, the forbidden fruit. Schools will say that they depend on parents to teach kids good nutrition at home but why sabotage parents that do just that?

It doesn't make sense to tax people as a punishment. It makes more sense to force food companies to remove things like MSG, carrageenan, hfcs, the list goes on. It would be easier for people to live nutritiously if the majority of food wasn't so unhealthy. 

Ever watch the film Supersize Me? It is incredible what happened to this guys health in just one month of eating McDonalds. Here is a link if you are interested. It is a whole film.   http://www.hulu.com/watch/63283/super-size-me





We are all shades of gray. It’s been said again and again; life’s a process. We are fleeting moments that come and go, and I am grateful to have my time, my aspirations and my mistakes, my flaws and my abilities. Think of me what you will, but before you do, don’t. Alexander William Gaskarth

alrad
by Member on Aug. 21, 2009 at 10:14 AM
jzsgrandma
by Bronze Member on Aug. 21, 2009 at 6:05 PM


Quoting Jynnifer292:

What needs to be done is the FDA needs to stop allowing food companies to put chemicals and ingredients into food that are meant to addict you to it and make people weight loss resistant.  School lunches are repulsive, but children are allowed to walk through lunch lines and buy french fries, cookies, and lemonade for lunch. MANY school food programs are supplied with products by the same companies that make all crap food in the grocery store. Then these kids go home and sit on thier butts and play video games.

Also, I think the whole "obesity is costing us money" is the same as "smokers are costing us money". There is always a scape goat for the exhorbitant costs of medical care and insurance. I pay out the nose for my health insurance not because neighbor it fat but because the insurance companies can get away with it.

Crap food companies pay BILLIONS of dollars every year to advertise their food. Children see easily a thousand of these commericals in a year just watching Saturday morning cartoons.

In order to change habits, the root of the problem needs to change. Kids that have a strict diet at home are MORE likely to pile junk food on their trays in school at lunch time, the forbidden fruit. Schools will say that they depend on parents to teach kids good nutrition at home but why sabotage parents that do just that?

It doesn't make sense to tax people as a punishment. It makes more sense to force food companies to remove things like MSG, carrageenan, hfcs, the list goes on. It would be easier for people to live nutritiously if the majority of food wasn't so unhealthy. 

Ever watch the film Supersize Me? It is incredible what happened to this guys health in just one month of eating McDonalds. Here is a link if you are interested. It is a whole film.   http://www.hulu.com/watch/63283/super-size-me

 I did see Supersize Me and it was beyond incredible and disgusting! What is even more disgusting that is all to many Americans eat fast food on a regular basis. There is a ton of crap in prepared food today but there are plenty of healthy choices. We are fat, we are lazy and we are not proactive in our health care and there is a price to pay for it. We have become so politically correct that we must not offend the fat, we must accommodate them. (Note the extra large seats where ever you go.) I have been fat and I can say from experience, it is a choice. ONLY you are responsible for what you put in your mouth and how much you consume and how much you exercise.

iluvmommyhood58
by Bronze Member on Aug. 21, 2009 at 6:35 PM

Food additives, chemicals, cheaper, prepackaged, processed food and "food", calling "over" concern for healthful eating an eating "disorder", HR 2749, Codex... yeah, I think Washington has room to complain.

eye rolling

Jynnifer292
by on Aug. 21, 2009 at 6:52 PM


Quoting jzsgrandma:

 

Quoting Jynnifer292:

What needs to be done is the FDA needs to stop allowing food companies to put chemicals and ingredients into food that are meant to addict you to it and make people weight loss resistant.  School lunches are repulsive, but children are allowed to walk through lunch lines and buy french fries, cookies, and lemonade for lunch. MANY school food programs are supplied with products by the same companies that make all crap food in the grocery store. Then these kids go home and sit on thier butts and play video games.

Also, I think the whole "obesity is costing us money" is the same as "smokers are costing us money". There is always a scape goat for the exhorbitant costs of medical care and insurance. I pay out the nose for my health insurance not because neighbor it fat but because the insurance companies can get away with it.

Crap food companies pay BILLIONS of dollars every year to advertise their food. Children see easily a thousand of these commericals in a year just watching Saturday morning cartoons.

In order to change habits, the root of the problem needs to change. Kids that have a strict diet at home are MORE likely to pile junk food on their trays in school at lunch time, the forbidden fruit. Schools will say that they depend on parents to teach kids good nutrition at home but why sabotage parents that do just that?

It doesn't make sense to tax people as a punishment. It makes more sense to force food companies to remove things like MSG, carrageenan, hfcs, the list goes on. It would be easier for people to live nutritiously if the majority of food wasn't so unhealthy. 

Ever watch the film Supersize Me? It is incredible what happened to this guys health in just one month of eating McDonalds. Here is a link if you are interested. It is a whole film.   http://www.hulu.com/watch/63283/super-size-me

 I did see Supersize Me and it was beyond incredible and disgusting! What is even more disgusting that is all to many Americans eat fast food on a regular basis. There is a ton of crap in prepared food today but there are plenty of healthy choices. We are fat, we are lazy and we are not proactive in our health care and there is a price to pay for it. We have become so politically correct that we must not offend the fat, we must accommodate them. (Note the extra large seats where ever you go.) I have been fat and I can say from experience, it is a choice. ONLY you are responsible for what you put in your mouth and how much you consume and how much you exercise.

First, they are human and we accommodate any other human with a need. If there need to be some bigger seats here and there, it doesn't really cause any harm. I agree, we are responsible for what we put into our mouths and how much we exercise, however, when companies are allowed to PURPOSELY put addictive ingredients into food, msg is addictive, how is it any different than tobacco companies adding addictive materials to cigarettes to keep you hooked?

Over the last fifty years, food processors have steady increased the amount of MSG added to foods. One of the primary and most consistent effects of MSG and other excitotoxins is triggering "an insulin/adrenalin/fat storage/food craving response." That response is what causes the, "I'm hungry again an hour after I eat Chinese food," quandary. It is also why some of us crave potato chips and other snack foods that contain monosodium glutamate, even though we're full. MSG also can cause neurological damage over time.

If schools have french fries, cookies, lemonade, and chips in the cafeteria, what is your average kid going to pick to eat for lunch? No matter what they are taught at home, it is a temptation that most kids won't resist.

Also, how many foods are packaged to APPEAR to be GOOD for us but actually aren't? For instance, bread packages that say "made with whole wheat" gives you the impression that it is whole wheat flour. When you read the ingredients, the whole wheat is halfway down the list LONG after high fructose corn syrup.

My point is that if food companies were not allowed to poison our food and generally be deceptive, there would be far less people with weight issues....neurological issues, depression, cardiovascular, the list goes on. I know large people that cook at home all the time and rarely ever have fast food. The health in this country plummeted with the introduction of genetically modified food.  





We are all shades of gray. It’s been said again and again; life’s a process. We are fleeting moments that come and go, and I am grateful to have my time, my aspirations and my mistakes, my flaws and my abilities. Think of me what you will, but before you do, don’t. Alexander William Gaskarth

iluvmommyhood58
by Bronze Member on Aug. 21, 2009 at 7:18 PM

This is absolutely true. The effects of modified food are immeasurable. Obesity is just one. Yes, people do overeat. (Not all obese people overeat.) We should also consider that modified and refined foods also contribute to overeating and eating too often. 

Quoting Jynnifer292:


Quoting jzsgrandma:


Quoting Jynnifer292:

What needs to be done is the FDA needs to stop allowing food companies to put chemicals and ingredients into food that are meant to addict you to it and make people weight loss resistant.  School lunches are repulsive, but children are allowed to walk through lunch lines and buy french fries, cookies, and lemonade for lunch. MANY school food programs are supplied with products by the same companies that make all crap food in the grocery store. Then these kids go home and sit on thier butts and play video games.

Also, I think the whole "obesity is costing us money" is the same as "smokers are costing us money". There is always a scape goat for the exhorbitant costs of medical care and insurance. I pay out the nose for my health insurance not because neighbor it fat but because the insurance companies can get away with it.

Crap food companies pay BILLIONS of dollars every year to advertise their food. Children see easily a thousand of these commericals in a year just watching Saturday morning cartoons.

In order to change habits, the root of the problem needs to change. Kids that have a strict diet at home are MORE likely to pile junk food on their trays in school at lunch time, the forbidden fruit. Schools will say that they depend on parents to teach kids good nutrition at home but why sabotage parents that do just that?

It doesn't make sense to tax people as a punishment. It makes more sense to force food companies to remove things like MSG, carrageenan, hfcs, the list goes on. It would be easier for people to live nutritiously if the majority of food wasn't so unhealthy. 

Ever watch the film Supersize Me? It is incredible what happened to this guys health in just one month of eating McDonalds. Here is a link if you are interested. It is a whole film.   http://www.hulu.com/watch/63283/super-size-me

 I did see Supersize Me and it was beyond incredible and disgusting! What is even more disgusting that is all to many Americans eat fast food on a regular basis. There is a ton of crap in prepared food today but there are plenty of healthy choices. We are fat, we are lazy and we are not proactive in our health care and there is a price to pay for it. We have become so politically correct that we must not offend the fat, we must accommodate them. (Note the extra large seats where ever you go.) I have been fat and I can say from experience, it is a choice. ONLY you are responsible for what you put in your mouth and how much you consume and how much you exercise.

First, they are human and we accommodate any other human with a need. If there need to be some bigger seats here and there, it doesn't really cause any harm. I agree, we are responsible for what we put into our mouths and how much we exercise, however, when companies are allowed to PURPOSELY put addictive ingredients into food, msg is addictive, how is it any different than tobacco companies adding addictive materials to cigarettes to keep you hooked?

Over the last fifty years, food processors have steady increased the amount of MSG added to foods. One of the primary and most consistent effects of MSG and other excitotoxins is triggering "an insulin/adrenalin/fat storage/food craving response." That response is what causes the, "I'm hungry again an hour after I eat Chinese food," quandary. It is also why some of us crave potato chips and other snack foods that contain monosodium glutamate, even though we're full. MSG also can cause neurological damage over time.

If schools have french fries, cookies, lemonade, and chips in the cafeteria, what is your average kid going to pick to eat for lunch? No matter what they are taught at home, it is a temptation that most kids won't resist.

Also, how many foods are packaged to APPEAR to be GOOD for us but actually aren't? For instance, bread packages that say "made with whole wheat" gives you the impression that it is whole wheat flour. When you read the ingredients, the whole wheat is halfway down the list LONG after high fructose corn syrup.

My point is that if food companies were not allowed to poison our food and generally be deceptive, there would be far less people with weight issues....neurological issues, depression, cardiovascular, the list goes on. I know large people that cook at home all the time and rarely ever have fast food. The health in this country plummeted with the introduction of genetically modified food.  


alrad
by Member on Aug. 21, 2009 at 9:32 PM

The bottom line is that people need to step up and take responsibility for their own health and stop depending on the government to protect them. It's up to us to educate ourselves, make better choices, and live healthier lifestyles.

Jynnifer292
by on Aug. 21, 2009 at 10:08 PM


Quoting alrad:

The bottom line is that people need to step up and take responsibility for their own health and stop depending on the government to protect them. It's up to us to educate ourselves, make better choices, and live healthier lifestyles.

Yes, to the point that they are able to. It would help if the government gave a crap though. The food companies should have to put a stamp on their food that says, "full of harmful sh*t" okay, at least "contains genetically modified ingredients"





We are all shades of gray. It’s been said again and again; life’s a process. We are fleeting moments that come and go, and I am grateful to have my time, my aspirations and my mistakes, my flaws and my abilities. Think of me what you will, but before you do, don’t. Alexander William Gaskarth

Raintree
by Ruby Member on Aug. 21, 2009 at 10:10 PM

People flat out don't eat enough vegetables. Nope. Look at the average steakhouse plate. Piled with meat, potato- and a little tiny helping of steamed, anemic vegetable on the side. And we've recently been on a whole grain binge. Whole grains are good- but that doesn't mean you get to eat those instead of green stuff.

It's like we think it's all a garnish or something.

The liberal person shall be enriched, and he who waters shall himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25

jzsgrandma
by Bronze Member on Aug. 21, 2009 at 10:38 PM


Quoting Jynnifer292:


Quoting jzsgrandma:

 

Quoting Jynnifer292:

What needs to be done is the FDA needs to stop allowing food companies to put chemicals and ingredients into food that are meant to addict you to it and make people weight loss resistant.  School lunches are repulsive, but children are allowed to walk through lunch lines and buy french fries, cookies, and lemonade for lunch. MANY school food programs are supplied with products by the same companies that make all crap food in the grocery store. Then these kids go home and sit on thier butts and play video games.

Also, I think the whole "obesity is costing us money" is the same as "smokers are costing us money". There is always a scape goat for the exhorbitant costs of medical care and insurance. I pay out the nose for my health insurance not because neighbor it fat but because the insurance companies can get away with it.

Crap food companies pay BILLIONS of dollars every year to advertise their food. Children see easily a thousand of these commericals in a year just watching Saturday morning cartoons.

In order to change habits, the root of the problem needs to change. Kids that have a strict diet at home are MORE likely to pile junk food on their trays in school at lunch time, the forbidden fruit. Schools will say that they depend on parents to teach kids good nutrition at home but why sabotage parents that do just that?

It doesn't make sense to tax people as a punishment. It makes more sense to force food companies to remove things like MSG, carrageenan, hfcs, the list goes on. It would be easier for people to live nutritiously if the majority of food wasn't so unhealthy. 

Ever watch the film Supersize Me? It is incredible what happened to this guys health in just one month of eating McDonalds. Here is a link if you are interested. It is a whole film.   http://www.hulu.com/watch/63283/super-size-me

 I did see Supersize Me and it was beyond incredible and disgusting! What is even more disgusting that is all to many Americans eat fast food on a regular basis. There is a ton of crap in prepared food today but there are plenty of healthy choices. We are fat, we are lazy and we are not proactive in our health care and there is a price to pay for it. We have become so politically correct that we must not offend the fat, we must accommodate them. (Note the extra large seats where ever you go.) I have been fat and I can say from experience, it is a choice. ONLY you are responsible for what you put in your mouth and how much you consume and how much you exercise.

First, they are human and we accommodate any other human with a need. If there need to be some bigger seats here and there, it doesn't really cause any harm. I agree, we are responsible for what we put into our mouths and how much we exercise, however, when companies are allowed to PURPOSELY put addictive ingredients into food, msg is addictive, how is it any different than tobacco companies adding addictive materials to cigarettes to keep you hooked?

Over the last fifty years, food processors have steady increased the amount of MSG added to foods. One of the primary and most consistent effects of MSG and other excitotoxins is triggering "an insulin/adrenalin/fat storage/food craving response." That response is what causes the, "I'm hungry again an hour after I eat Chinese food," quandary. It is also why some of us crave potato chips and other snack foods that contain monosodium glutamate, even though we're full. MSG also can cause neurological damage over time.

If schools have french fries, cookies, lemonade, and chips in the cafeteria, what is your average kid going to pick to eat for lunch? No matter what they are taught at home, it is a temptation that most kids won't resist.

Also, how many foods are packaged to APPEAR to be GOOD for us but actually aren't? For instance, bread packages that say "made with whole wheat" gives you the impression that it is whole wheat flour. When you read the ingredients, the whole wheat is halfway down the list LONG after high fructose corn syrup.

My point is that if food companies were not allowed to poison our food and generally be deceptive, there would be far less people with weight issues....neurological issues, depression, cardiovascular, the list goes on. I know large people that cook at home all the time and rarely ever have fast food. The health in this country plummeted with the introduction of genetically modified food.  

I understand your concern with prepared food but that is NOT our only option! What is wrong with personal responsibility?? Do you know how healthy a vegan diet is??Do you know how easy it is?? Do you realize that the food and drug adm. is NOT responsible for the choices you make. It only takes a minute to read the label and decide what you will or will not consume!!  All the ingredients for a healthy diet are at your local grocer, the choice is yours!!  It takes a little more effort, a little more responsibility.  And Im sorry but food companies are at our mercy, it's called supply and demand. Also your children do not have to eat from the school menu. I have been poor ( by American standards) and qualified for the free lunch program, when my kids were in school, and chose to pack a lunch for them instead. A healthy diet was a priority, and a personal choice I made.
 

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