Blaming big pharma for our poor health

According to “The United States will not be escaping the obesity epidemic crisis anytime soon: Nearly 40% of adults and 19% of youth are obese, the highest rate the country has ever seen in all adults, according to research released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics”.  So who is responsible for telling patients to lose weight?

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

  • In 2015–2016, the prevalence of obesity was 39.8% in adults and 18.5% in youth.
  • The prevalence of obesity was higher among middle-aged adults (42.8%) than among younger adults (35.7%).
  • The prevalence of obesity was higher among youth aged 6–11 years (18.4%) and adolescents aged 12–19 years (20.6%) compared with children aged 2–5 years (13.9%).

These statistics should be a wake up call to all of us.  Consider this “In 2011 to 2012, more than 12 percent of U.S. adults had diabetes, and 38 percent had prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are abnormally high, the study found”.  That’s a lot health care dollars.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]In 2011, the average annual health spending for individuals with diabetes was $14,093[/inlinetweet]. Two years later, it had risen to $14,999, according to the Healthcare Cost Institute. In contrast, a person without diabetes spent about $10,000 less in medical costs in 2013. Pharmacy provider Express Scripts said earlier this year that 2014 marked the fourth year in a row that medication used to treat diabetes were the most expensive of any traditional drug class.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]In all, diabetes costs totaled an estimated $245 billion in 2012, including both direct medical expenses and indirect costs from disability and lost work productivity[/inlinetweet].

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]More than 75 percent of health care expenditures are attributable to diseases that are largely preventable[/inlinetweet]. Yet, there is little evidence about how to best organize, finance, and deliver public health services to prevent these diseases and reduce their costs. But let’s not blame ourselves, instead let’s blame big pharma.

Investing in a workplace wellness program can provide broad-reaching benefits for your company, not just employees. Wellness can improve your employer brand, build loyalty among current employees and may even save you money, experts say. Yet, finding a program that works can be a challenge, especially for growing companies with limited budgets.  Research has shown an ROI pf better than 4:1 for employee wellness programs.

Our eating habits are killing us, but let’s look to Canada for their health care model.

Until the AMA, big pharma and the Government align together to make obesity a national health crisis the public will continue to blame everyone but themselves.