The TV show, One Nation Overweight, debuted on CNBC. It gave an overview of the frightening consequences to the health and psychological well-being of our country if we don’t start addressing this problem. It’s a health issue impacting men, women, adults, teens and now children. It is projected to cripple our health care budget in the next ten years. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that this is the first generation that may have a shorter lifespan than their parents—in part due to obesity. How much do you think you know about obesity? Take this quiz to find out.
There was some debate about who is to “blame” for this problem. People interviewed in this TV program tended to point the finger toward themselves—“no one made me overeat.” But, researchers, such as Dr. David Ludwig of Harvard, say it is much more complex than simply making good choices. There is corporate (advertising, new unhealthy products), personal (our own choices) and political factors that significant contribute to this problem. Corporations, for example, are notorious for advertising unhealthy products during kids TV programming. One out of three schools serves food from a popular fast food chain. Our environment doesn't help.
The TV program looked at the different methods currently being attempted to solve this epidemic from bariatric surgery, new weight loss drugs, effective lifestyle change programs, changing school lunches, mobile work stations to engaging business owners to provide incentives for weight loss. The bottom line—the problem is incredibly complex and the solution is equally multifaceted.
Employers watching the program may have been motivated to start thinking of creative ways to help their employees manage their health. Not only are healthier employees happier and more productive, but it saves on health care costs. Obesity related work days lost total, on average, 34 million days and led to 63 million doctor visits. For a car dealer in Ohio, spending 2,500 dollars on a Lifestyle change program for his employees led to significant reductions in the company's health care costs. Prevention programs, helping people with positive lifestyle change and providing solid education seem to be just a few steps forward in helping the economy and individuals change for the better.
If you missed this program, it’s worth your time to check out the information on CNBC. Prepare yourself for the stark reality of the statistics. While the website may have some good informatation, take note of the the link on the page, "Top Ten Best Performing Weight Loss Stocks." It's ironic that some people are worried about the financial burden on the economy while others are attempting to capitalize financially.
Dr. Susan Albers, psychologist and author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Eating Mindfully, Mindful Eating 101 and Eat, Drink & Be Mindful. www.eatingmindfully.com