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Friday, August 14, 2009

Angry Town Hall Meetings- Health-Care Reform- Obesity Bailout


"But I'm a Vegetarian..!"

I hear loads of overweight and obese people say they eat "healthfully" or "exercise" or are "vegetarians..."

But what your mouth says doesn't much matter when your body tells a different story. And your body is a major confessor.

Many people who claim to be **vegetarians, when a better description is "Carbotarian," "Macaroni-n-Cheeseatarian," or "Bag-of-Chips-and-a-Diet Coke-atarian." I worked with with a bright young woman in D.C. years ago. She called herself a vegetarian, but I never saw her eat a vegetable that was green. She was big on corn, pasta and mashed potatoes.

And yep, her body told on her. She was kinda squishy and pasty and frequently under-the-weather.

We're seeing a whole bunch of hoppin' mad Americans shouting down Congressmen and Congresswomen at local Town Hall meetings. Maybe they have a lot to be angry about when it comes to the health-care reform plans on the table: Obama's, the House's or the Senate's.

But I'm sure you've noticed what I've noticed. Most the screamers are also visibly overweight or obese--just like the rest of America. And no, it's unlikely they're suffering from rare medical conditions that promote obesity such as Prader-Willi, Pica or Cushing's Syndrome. 9 times out of 10 it's extra weight as a result of improper eating (eating the wrong foods, too much of the right foods, or a combo of both), and inadequate exercise.

We know the expected fate of most of these folks: chronic disease--very expensive, decades' long, chronic disease.

You'll be paying for it. You already are. It's the unspoken "Obesity Bailout." No matter what becomes of today's raging health-care reform debates, you're already paying higher premiums due to a nation with self-inflicted illness. Employers already pay $45 Billion a year due to employee obesity in lost productivity, extra time off an a higher incidence of workers compensation claims. And as you know, the annual U.S. price tag for obesity is $147 Billion--with a big chunk to cover obesity costs through Medicare and Medicaid.

So as our fellow countrymen shout out at elected government officials during Town Hall Meetings, we are indeed seeing Democracy in Action. We're also witnessing far more than what's being said. Freeze your frame, and take a look at what all these overweight and obese American bodies are telling us.


**(I'm a "mostly-vegetarian," eating chicken about once a week.)

3 comments:

Tanye' said...

I agree with you 100%, but how can we control what others eat. I think that all people should be able to seek healthcare but I am not happy about paying for someone who refuses to eat healthy meals and become active. I think overweignt people should have to pay more for insurance just like people who smoke, but I don't think that will happen because it seems like obese people have so much power these days with discrimination claims. So what can we do?

MeMe Roth said...

Classify illnesses resulting from improper eating as "elective." Elective medical care is paid out-of-pocket. The freedom to eat as one chooses remains, but the accountability rests with the individual.

lynettepleasant said...

Americans are ridiculous. I'm an American living in Japan and food here is not what it is in the states. Yes, people go out to eat, but they "gorge" on grilled fish and vegetables, not white flour, corn syrup, and sugar. The portions are a reasonable size for an adult to eat, not so huge that you feel stuffed afterward. Almost nobody is overweight, and nobody is obsessed with food. It's very refreshing!