I read a fantastic article in The Los Angeles Times recently that seems to sum up what is on the tip of everyone’s healthcare reformtongue these days when it comes to understanding how to lighten a load of government spending on healthcare. It’s all about taking personal responsibility:
During Obama’s campaign, the soon-to-be president spoke frequently of sacrifice and self-responsibility. When it comes to healthcare, however, he’s failing to hold people accountable for their own unhealthful behaviors and the overwhelming financial effect they have. He needs to insist that everyone play a part in solving our national healthcare crisis.”
While Go Healthy Go Fit is in no way political in nature, the issue at the root of this debate has everything to do with Americans health and fitness, and more importantly, how it affects our lives. How do you say? Americans’ bad habits such as smoking, overeating and poor choices when it comes to physical activity have to lead to health epidemics. Check out these stats provided in the aforementioned article:
Overeating has practically become a national pastime, and the percentage of people who are overweight or obese has soared to more than 60%….
We not only eat too much, we eat all the wrong things. Fewer than 25% of adults consume the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and fewer than half of children get adequate amounts of calcium in their diet…
We live sedentary lives. According to statistics maintained by the Department of Labor, men and women in the U.S. spend between two and three hours each day watching television and less than 20 minutes participating in sports and exercise.”
Those stats in and of themselves may not alarm you, but when you see the result on government spending, you begin to understand what it means to all of us:
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical expenditures associated with being overweight or obese may exceed $78 billion annually. For smoking, the numbers are thought to approach $75 billion each year.
Inactivity is estimated to cost us an additional $24 billion, according to a Harvard University study published in 1999. Sexually transmitted diseases run more than $8 billion a year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Drug-use costs roughly $15 billion, says the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and alcohol abuse $26 billion, says the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.”
While the author goes on to empathize with those people who seem to have trouble breaking bad habits, I would argue that the subset of the population which faces an actual inability to lose weight, stop smoking, and eat right is so small that it is not statistically significant.
Call it tough love, but understand that I myself had to go through everything described above, including quitting smoking. And yes, it was hard. It’s still hard. Sometimes I don’t feel like eating vegetables. Working out the way I do can take a toll on my body from time to time, but I have a responsibility. To my family, my friends, my readers and to everyone I’ve never met. And each and every one of us has that same responsibility. It’s time we step up to the plate and take responsibility.
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