Obesity, lack of insurance cited in U.S. health gap

Comments (10)
bdeeber8 wrote:

I spent a weekend in the hospital last year, only for observation and testing. The cost? $15,000. Of course, wealthy Republicans and their slack-jawed lackeys were quick to compare President Obama’s overly-cautious health care reform with Communism (socialism, Naziism, you pick). This despite the fact that so-called Obamacare, if it ever kicks in, will be mostly a shot in the arm to big insurance. It won’t change, because helping other Americans is not the American way. Cut-throat capitalism is our national religion, so the typical sentiment here is “screw you Jack;” if people can’t afford health care, just let them die. In a country where a dollar is worth more than a human life, one doesn’t hold out much hope that things will change, except for those of us lucky enough to escape this toilet.

Jan 09, 2013 1:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Tarboles wrote:

I agree with you 100% that cut-throat capitalism is our national religion. It also disturbs me that the end (a profit) justifies whatever means it took to get it.

When you say “lucky enough to escape this toilet” what are you referring to? This country, or life in general?

Jan 09, 2013 3:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
thecleaner45 wrote:

We are the worst because we have the most laziest in the world. No matter what kind of health care is offered people will still sit and stuff their faces and do nothing to stay healthy. So why waste more tax payers money on dead horses. If anything it will make it easier for others to come in and take over the U.S. Funny how they forget only the strong will survive.

Jan 09, 2013 3:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
SeamusDog wrote:

God and the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution so I can choose to be a lard as, back off my KFC, you will take it from my cold fat dead hands

Jan 09, 2013 4:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse

As the report states, there are many root causes for our comparative bad health; 2/3rds of Americans being considered overweight or obese is the prime culprit.

Every once in a while, I like to go to McDonalds and get a couple of regular hamburgers and a small fry. (That’s right, just the original regular hamburger, no McThis or McThat, no cheese.)

I also always park, and actually go in the restaurant, because the cars waiting in the drive-thru are wrapped around the building two times, with mostly fat (oh, sorry, obese) drivers sitting with engines idling.

Interestingly, most of the customers IN the store are not overweight or obese, and look generally healthy. Imagine that, people who are not so lazy that they actually get out of there cars and walk 50 feet for a hamburger look healthier than those who won’t even make that minimal effort. Go figure.

And drive-thrus are usually NOT quicker, by the way. After all, the concept is Fast Food!

My point of this is that Americans need to stop relying on their cars (and other machines), for everything they do. For example of other machines, when was the last time you saw someone using a rake or broom instead of a power blower in their yard or driveway?

Raking leaves or pushing a broom is very healthy cardiovascular exercise. And our over-reliance on cars, and our lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, should go without saying to any reasonably observant person.

Didn’t mean to wax on, but I hope you all get my point. Eat right, mostly, and exercise regularly. End of problem.

Jan 09, 2013 4:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse

@SeamusDog- Haha! I appreciate your humor and cynicism. I often remark that in many aspects of life, Americans are free to be stupid.

And stupid not just in poor health and eating habits, but even while driving, especially on our vast limited-access, interstate highway systems. Keep Right Except To Pass is not a suggestion! If only most drivers would obey that rule, it could probably solve upwards of 40% of our gridlock and traffic problems. Just an example of people being stupid.

Same with diet and exercise. What’s so darn hard about eating right and getting some regular exercise? Nothing, but they’re free to be lazy, as you say.

Jan 09, 2013 5:39pm EST  --  Report as abuse
bk06 wrote:

I am not surprised by these facts one bit. Having lived in a country with so-called socialized medicine I know just how terrible our current system is. Because of unemployment we do not currently have healthcare. In Europe we would. We can no longer afford to see our doctors/dentists/eye doctors. If we lived in a country with open healthcare we would. We can barely afford our prescriptions because of this. So, what makes people unhealthy in this country? The total lack of education about the facts. Americans are so quick to dismiss any idea that does not come from another American that we pass over brilliant ideas and solutions that would benefit everyone. One commenter mentioned his “right” to cling to his KFC with his “fat, cold, dead hands”. Wow. Is becoming a burden on society because you simply can not walk away from the cookies a “right”? Because lets face it, we are paying for that person’s health care,the person who can’t get a job because they are obese, every time our insurance premiums go up. Those taxes that went up this year? Yeah, that was to cover the cost of welfare and medicaid. Personally I think it is my “right” to have access to the healthcare I NEED to KEEP me from being unhealthy. I will never understand this country’s mindset. I understand bdeeber8′s desire to “escape this toilet”, especially when I am behind a family of over 300 pounders in the grocery store or on a plane. I should also say that a branch of my family is mostly (not all) obese. One person has even been overweight and suffering from caffeine-addiction migraines since childhood. Every attempt made to encourage healthy habits in them has failed. Given the choice I would have stayed in Europe, but I was too young. Once you have experienced other country’s approach to health and wellness you will never understand the American mindset of excess, mindless face stuffing and sedentary habits. Time to stop waving our political flags and do something serious about addressing health care here. But of course the masses of ‘sheeple’ will continue buying the rhetoric they are fed instead of thinking for themselves. The data is there, just LOOK at it folks!

Jan 09, 2013 10:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MaggieMP wrote:

I’m pleased Reuter’s is running this article, although I do wonder at selection of featured photo – obesity is 1 cause, and – given time and space to write an essay – I believe a good case can be made that obesity is linked to much more than diet availability and affordability.

An in-depth look at ‘dominant American culture’ reveals deep issues of mistrust, often outright paranoia.

The list of indicators is long: highest incarceration per capita, including for non-violent crimes; stunning military expenses along with chronic military adventurism; massive public blame and accusation that ‘those people’ of ‘that group’ are lazy and cause all national woes; high rate of litigation to settle differences; bulk of population either fears losing health care coverage or doesn’t have any at all; extended political campaigns with candidates sponsored by wealthy power groups; worship of a mythological can-do-no-wrong-will-save-us-all financial system called “profit-by-all-means” and willingness to sacrifice as much quality of life as necessary – perversely explained as “necessary to assure quality of life”!

No wonder some folks eat too much unhealthy food; no wonder the airwaves and media comment sections are filled with so much anger; no wonder the US is slipping on a number of globally calculated wellness measures – life span being only one. Stunningly high mental health suffering is another, and there are more.

Extreme disparity in disposable income and in access to life-enhancing resources (from education to health care and beyond) is not an accident of mysterious cause. The disparity is policy driven, and the policy is driven by values.

American culture is mistrustful, paranoid, angry, depressed, obese, and demonstrative of misery factors because innate wish to experience cooperative society as per human “social beingness”, and corresponding innate capacity to enjoy empathy and compassion, is lost to us beyond our earliest years. This loss is also related to why it has been so astonishingly difficult to bring a universal health care system into being.

I was raised in the States, then lived in Canada for several decades, then returned here to live. Canada has *some* elements of a society driven by materialistic values, but it has retained enough of a citizen-caring-for-citizen ethic to have a very different ‘feel’.

We, in the US, seem (in broad popular culture) to be so determined to define ourselves as “stand alone individuals” that, if threatened, we deny humanity – human and other. We have gone beyond ‘us against them’ and are approaching ‘me against you’. This is most unfortunate and not necessary.

Jan 10, 2013 2:49am EST  --  Report as abuse
jrj906202 wrote:

Your own body should be your primary doctor.All this nonsense about blaming your poor health on lack of healthcare coverage is nonsense.I haven’t had any healthcare insurance since 1979.I rarely see a doctor.Maybe once every 10 years.If you want better health,you are going to have to do it yourself.A doctor is for after you mess up your health,get into an accident or are unfortunate.How about giving up eating so much junk food?How about biking or walking to work?I think a .50 a gallon tax on gasoline,to be used to build more bike lanes and other healthy alternatives,might be a good idea.

Jan 10, 2013 11:51am EST  --  Report as abuse
FoonTheElder wrote:

That’s funny because heavier people on average, live longer than thin or average weight people.

Once again we waste $1 trillion per year compared to every other developed country ($3200/per person per year x 312m) and we get 25% uninsured or underinsured and 40,000 dead a year. Single payer without the health care price gougers is the only way to fix the problem.

Obamacare and Romneycare are only 50 years behind every other developed country. This is better than Republicancare which is 100 years behind. Even Germany has had universal coverage for over 120 years, something the US can’t seem to handle.

Jan 10, 2013 1:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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