Personal responsibility for our poor health

  • Less than 3 percent of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle.
  • Approximately 97.3% of Americans admit to not exercising, having a poor diet, smoking, and gaining weight.
  • 20% of deaths result from being a couch potato for those age 35 and older. Plus, 80% of American adults don’t meet basic physical activity requirements.
  • A new study goes one step further, finding that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease.

Let’s blame our poor health on ultra processed food instead of the choices we make in our lives.  That was the response to someone who replied to my statistic that “even if all prescription drugs were free our healthcare costs would still be astronomical”

The reality of health in America is that we are killing ourselves.  Diabetes, for example, is the condition with the greatest increase in spending, rising by $64.4 billion between 1996 and 2013.  The single most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes is obesity, noted Dr. Patrick H. Conway of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina in an editorial published alongside the new analysis.

The total costs in the U.S. for direct health care treatment for chronic health conditions totaled $1.1 trillion in 2016—equivalent to 5.8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.  In an eye-opening report, researchers studied men and women between the ages of 40 to 85 over a 20-year period. They found that obesity was likely responsible for about 18% of deaths during that time, one out of five Americans. Obesity is going to increasingly shape the mortality levels in the united states as we move forward.

In addition researchers estimate that more than 40 percent of the cancer cases diagnosed in the United States in 2014 and nearly half of all deaths from cancer were caused by potentially avoidable cancer risk factors , including tobacco use, poor diet, alcohol intake, physical inactivity, and obesity (21). In addition, vaccination against infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) and decreasing exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and indoor tanning devices can further reduce the burden of certain types of cancer.

In other words American’s are killing themselves.  Sure, we can blame food marketers, but we ALL have a choice and today digital health tools allow us to better monitor and control our health.  Even if strict regulations were passed concerning sugar and processed ingredients in food American’s would still be among the unhealthiest population on the planet.

Until the medical profession teams with insurers to intervene to stem unhealthy behaviors nothing is going to change.  Before we blame one industry, we need to look in the mirror.