Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Obesity driving rising US health costs

"The United States spends twice as much as European countries on health care," noted lead researcher Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy and management at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta. "Seventy-five percent of what we spend in this country is associated with patients that have one or more chronic conditions and most of the growth is due to obesity." More hysteria about fat causing disease.

"We have got to find more effective means to reduce, and at the worst, stabilize this persistent rise in obesity among adults and kids in this country," he said. Good luck, they haven't found a way to do that yet.

They report that about 17 percent of European adults are obese, compared with around a third of American adults. In addition, 53 percent of adult Americans are either former or current smokers, compared with 43 percent of those in Europe. American adults were also more likely than Europeans to have heart disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease -- all associated with obesity and/or smoking. Smoking, maybe (never heard of smoking causing diabetes, but maybe they mean all the others are caused by smoking and fat, and diabetes alone is caused by fat). Yeah, right, I don't think so people.

If the prevalence of obesity could be reduced (and along with it, chronic disease), Thorpe's team estimates that health spending could be cut by $100 billion to $150 billion per year, trimming up to 18.7 percent off the nation's total health-care budget.
Thorpe believes the only way to get health-care costs under control is to find ways to reduce obesity. "There is a lack of an effective primary-care system in this country," he said. "We have to manage patients with chronic conditions more effectively, and we have got to find a way to prevent this rise in obesity." As I said before, Good Luck finding a way to get rid of fat. How many WLDs have been tried, how many pills have been created, and how many of them have worked permanently? Hmmmmm?

"I'm not sure obesity is a medical condition that lends itself to medical treatment," said Greg Scandlen, the founder of Consumers for Health Care Choices, a health-care lobbying group. "Certainly, it does suggest the need for more exercise and better diets, but that is a grandmother's advice. Do we need highly trained and expensive professionals telling people what grandmothers have told them for free for generations?" He's not sure it's a medical condition that lends itself to medical treatment? Then why do doctors push pills, and diets, and WLS? Those are all medical treatments, and we've seen how well they work to permanently get rid of TEH FAT.

I have a message for doctors: You are not GOD! Yes, you have a responsibility to relieve pain and suffering, but that does NOT give you the right to decide who is healthy and who is not. It does NOT give you the right to push medical treatments that have proved to be ineffective for 90% of the fat people you treat and in some cases, make those people sicker than they were before you treated them. Remember your oath: First, do NO harm. You had better realize that standards were never meant to be applied to human beings. Standards are fine for quality control in manufacturing, but people are too complex and diverse for anyone to demand that all people can meet one standard of health. Health is NOT one-size-fits-all, health is specific to each individual, and that individual has the right to decide his/her own level of health. It is not a moral imperative to be reached.


  1. Man, that first sentence just steams my nuts!

    Yeah, we do spend a lot more on health care in this country. Funny how nobody wants to mention that only in the U.S. do people expect to make massive profits off the suffering of other people. If we didn't have to pay skyrocketing CEO salaries and stockholder dividends ALONG with our health care, I bet our health care would be a lot less expensive.

    But no, ZOMG!! Its must be teh fatts!

  2. I can also only but wonder if some of the astronomical money the US spends on obesity is in fixing the problems generated by dieters.

    For instance- an *overweight* person crash diets and goes into some sort of electrolyte imbalance and must be hospitalized for a few days. Does this get counted in? I would bet you it does-- yet in some sick way, it would also be counted as going towards the solution.

    And what about all the costs of snake oil? I am quite sure all that cr*p is in the figure-- but is that really "health care?" I would say not.

  3. There was a post, on BFB I think, about mutual insurance companies, something about less profit-making involved (I have read so much since then, I can't remember exactly what it was all about). But I do remember thinking at the time I read it that it would be an awesome idea for health insurance. I'll have to see if I can find the post.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Ok, it was a post at BFB, under the Clarion Health, Others Will Dock Your's at the end of osxgirl's post. Credit union set-up (not mutual insurance like I mis-remembered), where the insured deposit premiums, there is no profit, the insured own the company, and the risk is spread over all the owners. I think if something like this was set up, the current health insurance companies would HOWL! (deleted my previous post, I couldn't link to osxgirl's post in it, wouldn't allow my HTML).

  6. I'm also wondering how much of that cost is caused by doctors telling fat patients that their problem is caused by fat and refusing to look any further than that. So the patient either goes undiagnosed and gets sicker, or hunts for another doctor, and another doctor, until they find a fat-friendly one who is willing to look beyond the fat for the cause of the complaint.

  7. I know this is an old post, but I believe the U.S. spends twice as much on health care because of private health insurance and no government regulation of costs. In countries with socialized medicine (I currently live in one of those countries, but I am an American), the government caps expenses so costs stay low.

    All medical care costs more in the U.S. (hence the whole brouhaha about Canadian meds being cheaper). So, I think looking at costs across cultures is very misleading.

  8. screaming fatgirl - It's also because health insurance in the US is a for-profit business and profits come before service. That's why health insurance companies deny life-saving medicines/procedures to their insured consumers - because they're expensive and affect their bottom line. Doesn't matter that some of the people denied those life-saving medicines/procedures would have long lives and continue to contribute to society in a variety of ways, it affects the insurance company's profits and they can't have that.


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