SUMMARY: The chunk of the U.S. adult population classified as obese — defined as having a body mass index of 30 or higher — has roughly doubled, to more than 38 percent, in the last three decades. The cause, according to the most consistent research results, is relatively simple: overeating. The worst demographic segment, when it comes to obesity, is Millennials who are set to endure a generation of expensive healthcare costs.
Obesity is literally killing us. Despite the focus on the rising costs of drugs and hospital stays obesity is going to lead to expensive chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Millennials are on track to be the most obese generation in American history and rather than take responsibility for their health they are blaming everything from stress to money.
Obesity Root Causes
Studies may be pointing us to the fact that the simplest explanation of obesity is also the most likely: Eating more calories, without expending more, leads to weight gain.
Kevin Hall, a senior investigator with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, points to recent data that show the number of calories we consume correlates with the amount of weight we gain.
Although the amount we actually eat is difficult to measure accurately, says Hall, the per-capita calories available in the U.S. food supply increased 21 percent from 1973 to 2013, more than enough to account for the 16 percent increase in the average adult’s weight.
Millennials had better start saving money for healthcare now
Millennials, who now account for the largest share of the U.S. population and labor force, are seeing their health — including both physical and behavioral health conditions — decline faster than the previous generation as they age, according to a report published by Moody’s Analytics, based on data from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Millennials, or individuals born between 1981 and 1996, will likely see more expensive health care costs in the year ahead. If the trend continues at the current rate, millennial treatment costs are still projected to be close to $4,500 annually, roughly 33 percent higher than those of Generation X at a comparable age, by 2027. That’s about $375 per month.
The medical establishment is using a lot of excuses for the rise in obesity and, to be fair some people do have physical problems that can lead to weight gain, but the fact is we, as a nation, consume too much food.
Today you can get any meal you want delivered by using your smartphone even unhealthy fast food is joining in the rush to deliver food. Leading the charge are millennials who love to order in or eat out. They view it as a “reward” for working so hard but it’s a reward that can lead to bankruptcy or chronic health problems.
To be fair there isn’t one “magic” answer to solve this national crisis. It’s going to take a balanced approach from HCP’s to insurers and employers. Fat-shaming has become taboo because we may hurt someone’s feelings but those feelings are nothing compared to the possibility of taking care of a chronic health problem due to obesity.
There are a lot of things wrong with our healthcare system. It’s too profitable for the players and we pay far too much but we can’t ignore that good health starts with personal responsibility. I don’t buy into the “millennial vs. boomer” trend but unless Millennials start to take their health seriously they are going to see their retirement savings drained by preventable healthcare costs.