Couch Potato Index

SUMMARY: Consumer Protect looked at states where adults engage “in zero physical leisure activity,” which they dubbed the “Couch Potato Index.” Kentucky was No. 1, with 34.4 percent of adults in the state engaging in zero physical activity. Mississippi and Arkansas followed behind with 33.2 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively. There are many obesity-related health conditions, namely heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and stroke, among other health ailments, according to the CDC. This is costing us ALL more healthcare dollars.

America has long dealt with the issue of obesity. The condition affected 93.3 million adults in the country from 2015 to 2016, per the CDC.

“In 1990, obese adults made up less than 15 percent of the population in most U.S. states. By 2010, 36 states had obesity rates of 25 percent or higher, and 12 of those had obesity rates of 30 percent or higher,” according to Harvard University’s School of Public Health.

“While U.S. obesity rates have, overall, stayed steady since 2003, the rates are still rising in some groups, and disparities persist: Non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and Mexican American adults have higher rates of obesity than non-Hispanic white adults,” the school added.

In 2016, diseases caused by obesity and being overweight accounted for 47.1 percent of the total cost of chronic diseases in the U.S.— responsible for $480.7 billion in direct health care costs, plus $1.24 trillion in indirect costs related to lost economic productivity. The total cost of chronic diseases due to obesity in 2016 was $1.72 trillion—equivalent to 9.3 percent of the U.S. GDP that year. However, we’ll never hear politicians talk about these costs as we love to blame everyone but ourselves.

Our dietary habits are the leading driver of death and disability, causing an estimated 700,000 deaths each year. Heart disease, stroke, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancers, immune function, brain health – all are influenced by what we eat.

For example, our recent research estimated that poor diet causes nearly half of all US deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. There are almost 1,000 deaths from these causes alone, every day.

To put this in perspective, about twice as many Americans are estimated to die each year from eating hot dogs and other processed meats (~58,000 deaths/year) than from car accidents (~35,000 deaths/year).

Until someone has the courage to talk about these issues they are going to continue to drive up our healthcare costs.