SUMMARY: COVID-19 has killed many people worldwide, but how many really died from COVID, and how many died because they had an underlying chronic health problem as a major factor? We may never know, but we can not afford to do anything while our population becomes more obese and unhealthy.
According to CNN “a team examined mortality data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and found that of 2.5 million Covid-19 deaths reported by the end of February, 2.2 million were in countries where more than half the population is overweight”.
A study of thousands of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the New York City area has found that nearly all of them had at least one major chronic health condition, and most — 88 percent — had at least two. Hypertension, obesity, and diabetes were common.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report highlighted the dangers of heart disease, diabetes, and lung ailments. These are the top three health problems found in COVID-19 patients, the report suggests. Of course, many of these conditions are preventable, but our health system is not designed for prevention.
Six in ten Americans live with at least one chronic disease, like heart disease and stroke, cancer, or diabetes. These and other chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in America, and they are also a leading driver of health care costs. These diseases take an economic toll, as well, costing our health care system $214 billion per year and causing $138 billion in lost productivity on the job.
When it comes to COVID-19 I fear it will take years before we know the true cost in lives and dollars. The United States is among the wealthiest nations in the world, but it is far from the healthiest. Although life expectancy and survival rates in the United States have improved dramatically over the past century, Americans live shorter lives and experience more injuries and illnesses than people in other high-income countries.
To make matters worse less than 3 percent of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle,” according to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
I’m not naive enough to believe that there is one answer to our health crisis, but I believe doing nothing is NOT an option. There are socioeconomic issues tied to obesity that require a multitiered approach to fight but isn’t it time to do that?
What is the responsibility of health websites when it comes to informing people of the dangers of obesity? Should pharma promote wellness as well as prescription drugs on their websites? Should insurers charge obese customers more money in premiums? These are hard questions to be sure of, but like our crumbling infrastructure, they need to be addressed. Until they are, we will never know the REAL cost of COVID-19?