|Cardiovascular disease deaths in the US have increased by nearly 17% since 2010, and are among the reasons that life expectancy in the U.S. is lower than in other high-income countries. The U.S. has also seen reversals in health improvements since 2010, partly due to increasing rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.|
We can’t ignore the poor shape of Americans. Obesity, lack of exercise, and too much salt are all contributing to a myriad of health issues that are going to drive up healthcare costs.
According to STAT News “Americans consume an average of 1.5 teaspoons of salt a day, which translates into 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium That’s 50% more than the government’s recommended 2,300 mg for the general public and more than twice the 1,500 mg recommended for all adults by the more-precautionary American Heart Association. Consuming too much sodium causes as many as 100,000 deaths each year in the U.S. and $20 billion in health-care costs. The Global Burden of Disease study estimates that high sodium intake causes between 1 million and 5 million deaths per year globally”.
Then there is the obesity epidemic. A prestigious team of medical scientists has projected that by 2030, nearly one in two adults will be obese, and nearly one in four will be severely obese. The estimates are thought to be particularly reliable, as the team corrected for current underestimates of weight given by individuals in national surveys. In as many as 29 states, the prevalence of obesity will exceed 50 percent, with no state having less than 35 percent of residents who are obese, they predicted.
An #NHLBI-funded study put a price tag on American’s bad eating habits: $50 billion a year in health care costs, attributable to cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The research, reported in the journal PLoS Medicineexternal link , sought to zero in on the national health care costs of unhealthy diet habits, which are known to account for up to 45% of all cardiometabolic deaths.
Healthier eating could save the United States more than $50 billion a year in health care costs associated with heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and related illnesses.
In times of stress too many people turn to bad foods as an outlet. If they can’t find comfort outside they will find it in a Big Mac and larger orders of fries.
Our healthcare system is set up to treat patients not to prevent bad health habits. HCP’s and insurance companies too often fail to have a conversation about a patient’s weight and lack of exercise which in turn leads to more health problems and higher healthcare costs.
There are many reasons why Americans are so unhealthy, including socioeconomic circumstances. However, there is NO excuse for healthcare companies continuing to ignore the consequences. I’m a big believer that patients who don’t exercise and are obese should pay higher health insurance rates.
Physicians should be required to tell unhealthy patients that they are in danger of getting serious health problems that could sideline them from work and family for a long time. Pharma companies should be required to add content for health conditions that can be prevented by eating right and exercising.
Employers also bear some responsibility. American’s work too many hours and don’t take enough time to exercise. If employers really want to cut health insurance costs, they can start by ensuring employees understand the dangers of eating too much salt and not exercising.