Medicare has now officially declared obesity to be a disease, opening the floodgates for obesity treatments to be covered by federal and private health insurers. To many overweight patients, it's a welcome change, since they were unable to obtain medical treatment for their obesity unless they also suffered medical complications such as diabetes or heart disease.
But wait a minute. Is obesity really a disease? Malaria is a disease. Diabetes is a disease. Cancer is a disease. But obesity? I argue that it's not a disease at all but rather the natural result of a person making extremely poor decisions about food choice and physical exercise. It's something that can be entirely reversed in virtually 100% of the cases by changing these two simple things. As a result, it rests firmly under the control of the patient, especially if they are educated about healthy nutrition and how to make intelligent choices about what foods and groceries they consume.
To call obesity a disease is a "dumbing down" of the very idea of what a disease is. And unfortunately, it implies that the patient is helpless to do anything about it. This idea is reinforced by language from doctors and health care providers who say things such as, "Oh, you now have obesity," which sounds like you've been afflicted with some sort of external invader that has taken over your health and made you powerless to do anything about it.
When it comes to obesity, however, you have all the power to do something about it. You can change your lifestyle starting right now. Give up all refined carbohydrates and added sugars. Stop drinking soft drinks. Start reading ingredients labels and avoid all foods with hydrogenated oils and other metabolic disruptors. Give up processed foods, junk foods, snack foods and fast foods. Stay away from red meat and cow's milk.
Instead, give yourself optimum nutrition: fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of water, whole grains, and superfoods like chlorella, broccoli, garlic, sprouts, onions and soy products. Do these things and you'll automatically and naturally lose weight. Add in a daily dose of regular exercise and your weight loss will accelerate even further. Get some natural sunlight on your skin on a frequent basis and you'll start losing weight faster still.
In fact, this is the only treatment anybody really needs for obesity: nutrition, diet and physical exercise. And yet, sadly, this is almost never the treatment people will get. Instead, they'll be given an array of highly toxic prescription drugs with dangerous side effects. They'll be offered expensive surgical procedures like gastric bypass surgery that maim you for life. They'll be told that obesity has no cure, and that lifelong treatment with prescription drugs is the only option. (We'll even see fundraising activities like, "The walk to find a cure for obesity" during which you'll see brochures with headlines saying absurd things like, "With more money, we can find a cure for obesity...") These lies will generate billions of dollars in profits for hospitals, surgeons and pharmaceutical companies, and yet they will do little or nothing to actually improve the lives of patients. This new decision by Medicare to classify obesity as a disease will actually reward practitioners of modern medicine for convincing patients to undergo the most radical and expensive treatments possible, such as surgery.
Here in America, our modern medical system is rather insane. Shouldn't we be spending money that teaches people how to eat healthy in the first place rather than paying $50,000 a whack to slice them open and staple their stomachs shut? Shouldn't we ban the use of ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup that we now know are directly linked to obesity and diabetes? Shouldn't the FDA at least require warning labels on all foods made with high-fructose corn syrup?
Shouldn't restaurants be required to place nutritional information on their menus so customers know how fat they're getting from eating those foods? Shouldn't soft drink vending machines be banned from public schools to protect our children from obesity? Shouldn't we be teaching physical education classes in our schools? These and many more questions need to be asked publicly, loudly and persistently. Because right now, when it comes to medicine and public health, our priorities are all backwards: we spend fortunes treating people after they become obese and diseased, but as a nation, we refuse to spend even 1% of that in an effort to prevent these diseases in the first place. And disease prevention is far less expensive than disease treatment.
But once again, the reason this exists is well known: we are a country dominated by pharmaceutical companies. Disease prevention is not in the financial interest of these companies, since a population that isn't diseased doesn't need prescription drugs. As a result, we see the prevention of prevention taking place at the highest levels. Drug companies actually want to keep the population diseased in order to generate more profits, and obesity is just one of many such diseases that promise to enrich these companies for decades to come.
The slogan for the pharmaceutical industry should be, "Stay diseased, America. Tens of thousands of jobs are depending on it!