Obesity Will Bankrupt the United States of America
“Looking ahead, every state in the union will have an obesity rate above 44 percent in 2030, up from a nationwide average of about 30 percent now, the study said. Some states will top 60 percent.” (https://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/09/19/Unchecked-Obesity-Rates-Could-Bankrupt-Nation
) Those states topping 50% will literally have to file for bankruptcy, their annual costs to care for the chronic health conditions of their obese residents will by far topple any federally and state generated health care funds set aside to pay for all this. Then what? In our traditional system, the federal government will step in and take on this financial burden…giving more money to these states. Where will that money come from? Yes, if you are a semi intelligent individual, you should have just now looked at your wallet. (If you are a not so bright individual, you thought “They can just print more money”. If you are in this camp, please stop reading this blog and go get some basic education about economics immediately. Try…” Economics for Dummies” to start.) Yes, ladies and gents, WE ALL already pay for obesity in our taxes. And since those costs are going up exponentially and the federal government will not just let a state literally collapse in bankruptcy, we all are going to have to pay MORE out of our wallets to fund this life raft. The problem is this life raft has about 30 holes in it. Simply throwing more money at taking care of the chronic health conditions of the obese is not a solution. The numbers will continue to increase, and we will continue to have to pay more and more. Are you looking forward to the day where 50-75% of your biweekly paycheck gets taken by Uncle Sam? This is not an exaggeration. Just marinate on that for a second.
Angry yet? You should be. You know why? It is because obesity is a 100% PREVENTABLE health care condition. Let us compare this to smoking, another 100% preventable lifestyle condition that results in horrific chronic health care conditions and costs. A few decades ago, almost HALF of the U.S smoked cigarettes! Isn’t that interesting? Remarkably similar to the situation we will find ourselves in soon with our obesity rates. “Self-reported adult smoking
peaked in 1954 at 45%, and remained at 40% or more through the early 1970s, but has since gradually declined. The average rate of smoking
across the decades fell from 40% in the 1970s to 32% in the 1980s, 26% in the 1990s, and 24% since 2000.” (https://news.gallup.com/poll/109048/us-smoking-rate-still-coming-down.aspx#:~:text=Self%2Dreported%20adult%20smoking%20peaked,%2C%20and%2024%25%20since%202000
.) So, what happened? Why did the rates of smoking fall so dramatically after 1970? A few reasons, but the main ones were more wide spread media attention to this issue and because Big Tobacco and Government could no longer hide the fact that their products (and the government policies that for decades actually encouraged smoking as a form of good health and vitality) are killing millions. We, as a Nation grew aware and educated about the dangers of smoking. We, as a society, slowly changed our culture of one that accepted and encouraged smoking in every aspect of life (airplanes, hospitals, restaurants, etc.) to a culture that frowned upon and even discouraged those who smoked (designated smoking areas, smoking bans on airplanes, high taxes on cigarettes, etc.). We experienced a CULTURE SHIFT. We went form a culture that smokes everywhere and every day and encouraged it to a culture that greatly discouraged and frowned upon the practice.
Why haven’t we done this with obesity? Well, I think in true American fashion, we tend to only react when the house is burning down. We see the pot on the stove caught fire. We watched the fire engulf the entire kitchen. We have seen it creep into the living room. Oh, now the fire is climbing the steps. Nah. No need to call the fire department. The whole house is not on fire! Because it is not a National crisis YET, we are doing nothing. Sure, we are repeating the mantra “eat less, move more” and expecting that to magically work. But with the other side of our mouth we are granting more and more subsidizing to farms that grow the things that are killing us, sugar, and grains. God forbid we ever run low on sugary cereals, soda, and Little Debbie snack cakes! We could really be in a crisis! Here are some more money farmers! Keep cranking out those plants! We have another cupcake store to open in somewhere USA!
The bottom line is that we are dealing with a National crisis just like the cigarette problem. IT IS AN ADDICTION. So, until we address it as thus, and stop the hypocritical discouragement with one side of our mouths and feeding them more with the other, we are careening headlong into a financial crisis the Nation hasn’t seen since the great depression.
If you felt all defensive and huffy while reading this (although you probably stopped reading by now if that is the case), that means you personally have been affected by obesity and this made you feel all the bad feels. The easy thing to do is to deny. No, the 40 extra pounds I carry is not a big deal, I could lose it if I really tried. No, my mom died of cancer, not the fact that she was 80 pounds overweight. Well, my sister seems perfectly healthy, the doctor just told her that if she just kept taking her insulin and “watched her sugar”, she should be fine. Keep lying to yourself. We get it. It is easier. But one day, when your doctor is telling you that they are going to have to amputate your toes, or that you will be completely blind in a few years, or that you have to spend the rest of your life commuting to a dialysis clinic 5 times a week, how are you going to avoid that reality? Or what about for those of us who are not obese? This does not apply to me; I am not obese! As you sit by the bedside of a loved one who is, and they are in constant medical care and suffering. Or as you open your paycheck in 2035 and see 65% of it has been taken by Federal and State taxes to cover the abysmal medical care for our horribly sick population. Or as you see your obese child struggling to keep up with his friends on the playground because he can barely carry his own body weight without wheezing and gasping and having to take breaks. I am not being sarcastic here. I am stating the TRUTH. These are scenarios people are living every single day. The only one not being lived yet is the taxes, but it is already being played out with personal bankruptcies. The #1 reason for personal bankruptcy is medical bills. Let that sink in. That is the fate of our Nation unless we experience a MASSIVE, Nationwide cultural shift where our entire society discourages the consumption of processed foods, highly taxes foods that contain sugar and grains, and decides that we are not going to trust the BIG FOOD companies and the Government to have our health in mind as the priority (as they didn’t when it came to cigarettes).
If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired and are ready to take your own fate into your own hands, you need to address the one thing no one wants to address, you are an addict. We all are. You need a coach to work with you on BEHAVIOR CHANGE. It doesn’t really even matter which “diet” you end up following. There is not one “magic diet” that works for everyone. Realistically, most of them would work for anyone, the most important thing is changing your behavior and your mindset. 90% of diets fail because they only focus on a prescriptive, “eat this and not that” mentality. This doesn’t address the addictive part of this process. Fire Team Whiskey has an Eating Psychology Specialist on staff that will work with you one on one to help you break your addiction to processed foods. This is a real condition, addiction, not a failure of willpower. You can not willpower your way out of an addiction, you must understand the mechanisms of your addiction, then control the environment of your addiction to really make any progress. This is why alcoholics don’t tend to go to bars, how can you even go grocery shopping or drive down the road without being constantly exposed to your addictive foods? You must have a strategy and you need a specialist to help you with this. Get a coach, take control and stop bankrupting your life.