As the public continues to morn the death of actor James Gandolfini the key warning from his untimely death is being missed. More than 75 percent of health care expenditures are attributable to diseases that are largely preventable including heart disease. It is being reported that Mr Gandolfini ate two big plates of fried food along with several alcoholic drinks shortly before his heart attack. The key lesson here is that there is a price to pay for unhealthy living and unless this message is clearly communicated to a public that likes big portions the bill is going to have to be paid.
The AMA classified obesity as a “disease” this week and in my opinion that just gives more obese people an excuse to continue their unhealthy ways. It seems that the American public is resigned to the fact that as they get older they gain weight which is too damn bad because it’s not true.
First let’s acknowledge the fact that today most employees are stressed by work. More than 80% of the American workforce report chronic job related stress. This in turn often leads to unhealthy life styles. How can we expect people who are stressed out with their jobs to be able to go home cook healthy meals and find the time to exercise ? It’s hard but Millennials seem to be finding ways to eat healthy and exercise compared to other demographic segments.
More and more the idea that if you work hard and can have it all is vanishing and is being replaced by working hard and not having the time to exercise and eat healthy. Most of us constantly check eMail and are wired to our jobs but unless employers and employees work together to reduce stress and allow time for healthy activities like a trip to the gym or a walk around the building healthcare costs are going to continue to climb.
I’m not one to blame Dunkin Donuts for promoting an egg sandwich served on a glazed donut. Nobody is forcing us to eat unhealthy it’s just that since a lot of people are working so hard they look for other ways to reward their hard work and that most often is with unhealthy food. Sure I would like to eat red meat 3 times a week or have a burger every week but I understand that is something I can’t do because it’s bad for my body.
Rather than work with physicians and the FDA to enlighten and educate the public about the dangers of unhealthy eating we seem to want to provide an easy way out with medications or diet pills. If we could reduce smoking by showing the dangers of cigarettes we certainly can do the same thing for unhealthy eating. Until then more stories of untimely deaths like Mr Gandolfini are going to be reported while we ask “why?”.