Stop Making Excuses for Obesity

A disturbing new study conducted by Health Action Council shows millennials exceed older generations in chronic health conditions like diabetes and obesity. We need to focus on emphasizing lifestyle as medicine and stop making excuses for lack of common sense when it comes to obesity.

Bill Maher railed on body positivity, saying there’s a movement in America to rewrite science to fit ideology, adding, “fat is now celebrated.” He quotes a New York Times article, which says, “Poor diet is the leading cause of mortality in the U.S.” So, Bill says, anyone who embraces obesity has blood on their hands.

Maher argued that:

  • Our society no longer treats obesity as a preventable health condition but a protected status. This is an example of people “rewriting science” to fit their ideology.
  • Obesity carries significant health risks.
  • We know why most people gain weight and how they can lose it; arguments to the contrary are stupid.
  • Overweight people who slim down are routinely and wrongly criticized for their efforts.

“Doctors are going along with this newly invented Orwellian world where there are no good or bad foods, where you can be healthy at any weight…I’m sorry. It’s just not true.”

Bill Maher

OK. This is a little over the top, but there is a lot of truth to what he says.

Diabetes is expected to surge dramatically in young people over the next several decades in what experts say should be a wake-up call to prioritize health in America.

Researchers estimate that in 2060, there could be as many as 220,000 people under age 20 with Type 2 diabetes, an increase of nearly 700%, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Thursday. Those with Type 1, the most common type in young people, could see a 65% increase.

Overall, the findings estimate that more than half a million young people could have diabetes in 2060 if current rates continue and with population increase. In 2017, that number was 213,000, according to the study published by American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care.

Besides the physical impact of diabetes, there are the costs of obesity. The most obvious direct costs of obesity are related to comorbid conditions and the medications needed to treat these diseases. Currently, 236 diseases are associated with obesity, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and depression. Recent data found that the medical care costs of obesity are almost $150 billion annually in the U.S. More specifically, treating the five most common obesity-related conditions (stroke, coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol) resulted in roughly $9,000 to $17,000 higher costs compared to normal-weight adults.

Obesity imposes a substantial financial burden on the public health care system, yet we seem reduced to ensuring that we don’t fat-shame people. If this keeps up, our healthcare system will go bankrupt.

Scientists understand that there are also socioeconomic causes for obesity but that most cases are preventable with guidance from HCPs and nutritionists. Some health insurers are experimenting with lower premiums if people wear health monitors that show they’re exercising.

The new class of weight loss drugs seems to be a quick fix, but once patients go off the medication, they gain their weight back, and they seem to forget that clinical trials involved the drugs with “diet and exercise.”

The media can talk all they want about drug and hospital costs along with profits, but the truth is that until we, as a population, address the hard truth about obesity, we’re never going to get anywhere.