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Americans In Unhealthy Lifestyle Crisis

By Dr David Robinson

Unhealthy EatingIn today’s society, being grossly overweight to obese and living an unhealthy lifestyle has become status quo. It’s almost acceptable with most people generally apathetic about it. But if people don’t change their unhealthy lifestyles, the consequences will cause them to pay dearly for it in more ways than they ever imagined.

Let me start out by asking a very serious question: If all these popular weight loss diets, books and programs being marketed over the years have really been effective, why have the number of people engaged in unhealthy lifestyles and becoming overweight to obese exploded to over 65% of the total population?” (USSG).

That spells disaster, because that’s a recipe for wasting your money, ruining your life and dying early!

Back in 1998, I anticipated that the unhealthy lifestyles and growing numbers of obese Americans would result in the health insurance industry and legislators taking action soon.

The concept of “Mandatory Minimum Health Insurance”, which was brought up in 2000 while on a speaking circuit locally in Boston’s North Shore, received laughs and snickers. It is now law in Massachusetts.

Not so shocking when you think about it. The majority of people value, have the time, money and desire for the new styles, new vehicle, movies, sports games, entertainment, new furniture, manicures, hair styles, new gadgets, vacations, lottery tickets, casinos, lunches and diners out all week, and on and on. But when it comes to valuing, spending time, effort and money on regular exercise, proper nutrition, nutritional supplements, relaxation and meditation time, preventive health practices, and maintaining healthy lifestyles, the only things people always seem to have are excuses for why they can’t or don’t. And just look at the following statistics.

  • The USSG reports that about 65% of Americans are overweight to obese.
  • The Centers for Disease Control report that:
    • About 13% of US children ages 8 – 16 are overweight to obese.
    • Less than 15% of US adults exercise 60 minutes or more a minimum of 3 times each week.
    • Less than 10% of kids ages 8 – 18 exercise for 60 minutes or more 3 times a week.
    • More than 300,000 people die each year from illnesses caused by or made worse by obesity.
  • The UCLA RAND Center found that obesity raises a person’s health care costs by 36% and medication costs by 77% (an average $395 per year) and they have 30% – 50% more chronic health problems.
  • According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, US spending for health care will top 3 trillion by 2010.
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts reports that 57% of all illness and injury is a direct result of lifestyle.
  • World Health Organization:
    • US citizens ranked 37 among 191 nations in ability to improve health.
    • Over 15% of US Gross Domestic Product spent on correcting health problems.
    • Over 72% of all deaths in US are the result of heart disease, lung disease, diabetes & degenerative diseases.
    • The very expensive US drug-based system is NOT reducing the rate at which conditions become chronic and continue to plague the US
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Such chronic conditions are preventable for the most part and are primarily resulting from unhealthy practices.

To say there is an urgent need for a brutally direct approach to the serious unhealthy lifestyle issues that most Americans need to address is an understatement.

More than ever before, it is an absolute necessity that we wake up to the fact that if we do not change our unhealthy lifestyles, health insurers and legislators will institute more dramatic and costly changes to health insurance and care. This will be the brutally direct approach. The changes will be things such as using “Colossus” – the health insurance industry’s well-kept secret – to track lifestyles and issue “Lifestyle Grades” in order to “Merit-Rate” Health Insurance Premiums and impose “Lifestyle-Contributed Surcharges on Care”.

It should already be obvious that this has begun, with the legislating of “mandatory minimum health insurance”; that a “New Order” of health insurance/care has dawned.

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1 Response

  1. Jim the skeptic says:

    On the other hand, if we let people die off young from heart disease and smoking, there will be more resources left for the rest of us! The statistics cited are cost per year, but once you allow for the fact that the obese smokers die young, and are ashamed to haul their big smelly selves into the doctors office, then you see that on a full lifetime basis they cost us less.
    So, I suggest a healthy lifestyle because you will feel better, not because it will save the country money.

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