(NaturalNews) Obesity in America is more than just an epidemic, it's the normal state of affairs. Today, 34 percent of Americans are obese (BMI of 30+), triple the 1960 percentage. The ranks of the 'morbidly obese,' or those with a BMI of 40 or more, has swelled to 6 percent, six times the 1960 rate. Another 34 percent are 'merely' overweight. That means a whopping three out of four, or 75 percent of Americans are either overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. What a sad and completely preventable statistic!
The cost of obesity is staggering. From lost productivity and absenteeism on the job to the rising health-insurance premium costs, even the non-obese have to pay obesity's hefty price tag.
Many believe government should play more of a role in this public health crisis. Governmental policy initiatives such as the 2010 US healthcare reform law's provision to allow companies to charge the obese 30-50% more for health insurance (if they do not participate in a qualified wellness program) are met with opposition from various advocacy groups formed to 'end size discrimination.' Governmental efforts to regulate salt and other foods are met with even more resistance by those who rightly fear government overreach.
A profitable problem?
The medical / pharmaceutical industry's commitment to end the obesity epidemic could be called into question when the fact is realized that obese men spend $1,152 and obese women spend $3,613 more per year on medical care than everyone else. In total, because of obesity alone the medical industry earns an extra $190 billion per year, or 20.6 percent of all US healthcare expenditures. And instead of dying younger, as some researchers predicted would happen, the obese are kept alive for longer durations by drugs and treatments, further increasing medical industry revenue.
There can be no doubt that, to certain sectors of our economy, obesity is a profitable epidemic indeed. So why should it be a surprise when the solutions offered never get to the real crux of the problem? The system has everyone running like hamsters in a cage, chasing the carrot that is the 'American dream' even as it becomes increasingly out of reach. Where it once took one income to support a typical family, today it takes two, and lots of overtime to boot. The average American family barely has time to use the microwave oven to prepare a frozen meal, much less cook from scratch- or at least that's how many people feel. Fast food is an easy fix, a way to get through the day and on to the next. No wonder so many Americans are overweight!
So what's the solution?
Government isn't the answer. Hospitals and drugs aren't the answer, only a profitable way to treat the symptoms. The ultimate answer to the obesity epidemic is a massive public awakening, one that is already beginning. NaturalNews.com and other sites play a crucial role in educating the public - at the grassroots level - that we CAN break away from the system and take back control over what we put into our bodies, and it's not nearly as expensive and time-consuming as people might think.
The proper planning, knowledge and skills can make cooking from scratch very manageable, even for the most time-starved household. Permaculture techniques can make gardening easier and less time-consuming. Sure, buying organic might cost more on average than conventional grocery products, but the lesson here (one that applies across the board when it comes to health) is a lesson that everyone should truly grasp: Pay now or you will certainly pay later.
About the author: Scott is a blogger, writer, and researcher whose primary focus is how to raise healthy kids despite a system and status quo that makes it as difficult as possible. He and his wife, Kim, live in the hills of east Tennessee with their four small children. He holds an MBA from East Tennessee State University. Scott and Kim blog about parenting, marriage, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, and homesteading at www.amorefieldlife.com. Connect with them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amorefieldlife.
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