by Glen Depke
In the last 50 years the incidence of obesity in
American has skyrocketed from 13% to an estimated 34%. In the same time period, the incidence of extreme or
“morbid” obesity has jumped from 0.9% to 6%. While these
findings are common knowledge, the costs associated with the epidemic of
obesity are eye-opening.
Recent Mayo Clinic studies indicate that
obesity racks up over $190 billion in annual medical costs, which is an average
of $1,850 more per year for an obese person than a person of healthy
weight. The morbidly obese’s average yearly cost was estimated as high
as $3,086 per year. Shockingly, the average health costs of the obese
were greater than the costs incurred by smoking. Smokers health care
costs were generally $1,274 a year greater than non-smokers because of
increased mortality, while individuals with a body-mass index (BMI)
above 40 were estimated at $5,530 annually. The costs of obesity outside
of health care were greater as well. The study noted a $5 billion
annual increase in jet fuel over the 1960’s cost to fly heavier
passengers and a $4 billion annual increase in gasoline costs for cars
transporting the obese.(1)
These are significant costs to all of us!
So the problem seems to be that obese people are taking money out of your pocket?
Not so fast though!
Let's not get into the "blame game" of poor food choices, lack of control or even the victim mentality of genetics. We can also be clear that this is not a war on obesity. We have had a war on drugs and a war on cancer in this country for some time and what do we have more of? Drugs and cancer...
A big part of the problem stems from our cultural patterns. Most of us are over worked, over stressed while under exercised and under nourished. These patterns often set up individuals to fail. The weight comes on a few pounds at a time and before we know it we are living in a state of obesity. Once this state is reached, you will often spin out of control and eventually fall into a state of hopelessness in regard to your weight gain.
This is really an issue for all of us.
So how can we address this?
While I cannot provide the whole answer for everyone here, I can say that it starts with all of us as individuals.
If you are obese, it will be important to take responsibility for your past choices, accept where you are right now and make new choices long term and consistently enough to expose a new level of health for yourself. If you are wondering what you can do to move forward on this level, I would welcome you to view the results of the "More Than Just Weight Loss" 6 week program by following this link.
If you are at a healthy weight, I would still say to look at yourself. I would recommend to offer compassion and understanding to those that are obese. Taking this attitude will be nothing but empowering to yourself as well as those challenged with weight gain. Perhaps compassion and understanding itself could create a significant shift in the health of our culture.
What do you think?
If you have any comments or questions in regard to this article, feel free to leave a post below and I will address this personally.
(1) Reuters. April 30, 2012.