America Needs a National Health Policy Overhaul

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 (DGIwire) — With the World Health Organization (WHO) report on rising obesity rates in Europe making headlines this week, people might miss the fact that Europeans are following a well established American trend.

Experts predict obesity in America is only going to get worse.  With 33% of Americans now classified as obese, it is estimated that this number will grow to 42% by 2030.  Even though the latest government figures show that obesity is leveling off, even small continuing rises will add up.  Worse still, Duke University researchers are predicting that by 2030, 11% will be severely obese which means they are 100 pounds or more overweight. That figure is double today’s rate.  Obesity is closely connected with diabetes, heart disease and other ailments and is a major factor in Americas rising health care costs.

According to a 400 page report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), over 65% of American adults are overweight.  The report sounds an alarm and calls for a major overhaul of US policies.  They estimate that obesity is costing the US $190.2 billion a year in illness-related costs.  Many experts say the number is closer to $300 billion.  The report also said that 17 percent of US children are now obese compared to less than 6% 30 years ago.  They called for a renewed focus on schools, calling for more healthy food choices and more time devoted to physical activity.  Action must occur at all levels; individual, family, community, and the broader society, according to the report.

“This is a huge problem and every individual needs to take personal responsibility and make it a priority to reverse this situation.  Obesity is cited as a risk factor for many chronic diseases.  It is estimated that 33% of children born today and up to 50% of Hispanic and black children will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime”, according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (BSH 2011).

The IOM committee members were of the opinion that people only have a limited ability to control their weight in an environment where there is a lot of food available and that one of the main reasons for obesity has to do with people being presented with large quantities of food.

Griesel disagrees adding, “Easy access to food is hopefully not going to change so we each need to take the initiative and action required to manage our own weight and health.  Parents need to set the proper example for their children and teachers should also be role models.  In order to be effective, any beneficial national health policy changes will need to start with every American citizen initiating their own personal policy initiatives.”

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