Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We Have Met the Enemy, and it is Us...

Is the USA the nation which has long prided itself as being the best?

Look at into the Time Machine--- look ahead to America's future--- its children. They are morphing into walking beach balls.

Poor nutrition--- industrial food, and deadly eating habits fueled by poor education--- is creating an underclass, a population of the future-disabled.

Are we doing this to ourselves? Yes. Gluttony is a voluntary disease!

The collective cost in damaged health, and in damaged lives, will bring crushing economic and social burdens upon everyone, including the victims of obesity, and the health care system itself.

And the heaviest kids -- already at greater risk of health problems--- are getting heavier. In North Carolina, for example, over 30 percent of Medicaid and Health Choice children recently evaluated are “overweight”. (body mass index [BMI] between eighty-fifth and ninety-fourth percentile) or “obese” (BMI at or above ninety-fifth percentile).

A shocking 28 percent of Medicaid and 37 percent (of Health Choice respondents) reported that they are NOT trying to encourage their children to engage in more healthy lifestyle habits.

The health status and economic implications of overweight are staggering. Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk of developing significant health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

Such high-cost factors would defeat the resources of the new Health Plan, or any national health plan, in the future.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Obesity counseling, nursing, and intervention. These are a must.

The cost? It's a winner. These programs will save trillions of dollars.

Such programs can be implemented through small medical teams operating from mobile units or from hospitals, fire departments, churches, civic clubs, etc. Each team might consist of a nurse and nursing assistant, (role models themselves, trained in nutrition and fitness), to screen children for eating disorders, diabetes, and elevated lipids.

Referrals by local Health Departments and and municipal school health officials--- resulting in requests for assistance for certain students--- would be responded to by health specialists.

Gluttony Counseling should be offered to the parents of those obese students. Those parents are already likely obese themselves. The parent disability-habits are the source of their children's obesity--- through poor food planning and purchase, and disastrous lifestyles choices.

Bottom line? If the new USA Health Plan brings cost controls to the medical industry, the best impact may be that PREVENTION is the cheapest way to good health.

Should we create a more PC word for gluttony? Should we worry about emotional harm?

No. Let's call GLUTTONY what it is, a habit of self-destruction. Oh yes, the word is ugly--- it stigmatizes. But isn't that better than slow death?

And let's start by rescuing the future--- the children!

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