Thursday, July 2, 2009

Obesity in America and the Health Care Time Bomb

In 31 US states, more than one in four adults are obese, says a new report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states over the past year, and no state experienced a significant decline.

"While the nation has long been bracing for a surge in Medicare as the boomers start turning 65, the new report makes clear that fat, not just age, will fuel much of those bills," according to the Associated Press. "Health economists once made the harsh financial calculation that the obese would save money because they [were thought to die] sooner. But more recent research instead suggests that better treatments are keeping them alive nearly as long — but they’re much sicker for longer, requiring such costly interventions as knee replacements and diabetes care and dialysis. Medicare spends anywhere from $1,400 to $6,000 more annually on health care for an obese senior than for the non-obese."


  1. Is it possible that "Trust for America's Health" has a political agenda?

    I spend every day helping people lose fat / get fit / etc..., so I am all in favor of public efforts to help people improve their health/fitness.

    But I keep getting this funny feeling that these reports about the Obesity Epidemic are designed to scare people.

    Fear is a great tool for driving public opinion & gov't policy

  2. In general, I am cynical about media manipulation, too. But if these sorts of stories are designed to scare Americans into better lifestyles, it hasn't worked so far according to the statistics.

    I worked in China for several years. When I would tour factories that made clothes for export, I could see the manequins that they used to size their clothes. The ones for export to other parts of Asia looked like the manequins that you might see in a department store, only smaller. Those for Europe were taller, but also proportioned bigger (i.e. less idealized). The ones for America we grotesquely bulbous. That was the stark reality presented by pure capitalism, unfettered by sentiment or any agenda.