WTF Happened in 1980?

The effects of obesity in our country.

I found this visual posted by @nic carter.

The conversation that’s taking place around this post is also fascinating. There are a lot of good points and interesting insight from all angles. To view the entire thread, you can click below.

There is obviously a lot of speculation and reasons why the American diet and obesity rates in the U.S. have turned into such a nightmare. Off the top of my head I can think of…

  • sugar lobbyists

  • fast food

  • corn and wheat subsidies

  • high fructose corn syrup

  • advertising industrial complex

  • poor communities losing access to nutritious food

Out of all the “problems” right now in our country, this is the one that should scare us the most.

The cost of healthcare is collapsing our system. It’s a real problem.

Even the military considers the cost of healthcare as an existential threat. And this was 10 years ago!

One of the reasons why I am not an advocate for universal healthcare is because the focus should not (yet) be on fixing the healthcare system. The focus should be on fixing our health.

The problem with healthcare is supply and demand. If 36.5% of Americans are obese and an additional 32.5% of Americans are overweight (source) than how in the fuck are we supposed to be able to promote competition in the market?

We can’t. We have no leverage. Insurance companies can charge what they want and there’s no room for competition to come in with a better solution because the demand is and will continue to be through the roof.

Healthcare isn’t free. It costs money. But prevention is much cheaper. You could save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars by avoiding the heart surgery in the first place.

We all want better healthcare, but we’re not willing to work for better health.

Now look, I am well aware that this isn’t a black and white issue.

For sure… I get it. I am presenting an over simplification to a complicated issue.

There are clear problems with obesity in poor communities. There are obvious problems in our food systems. There is incentive to profit off of the poor health of Americans and there are many victims in this that lost control of their health for nuanced reasons not entirely in their control.

In addition, I am agreeing that there are clear problems with our healthcare system. It’s a mess. It’s crazy that we let it get this far out of hand in the first place.

I’m see it and I’m empathetic to the people who are suffering. Truly.

To say that “obese people have no self control” is a complete blanket statement with no regard for nuance and complication.

BUT… that doesn’t mean that we can hide from the reality.

We’re an obese nation and until we solve for the fiscal costs of preventable diseases, we will never be able to dictate the cost of healthcare in the market.

If we actually want better healthcare, than we need better health. We can’t blame everything on the government and demonize privatized insurance companies forever. Eventually, the cost of these decisions will catch up to us. Whether we address the root problems or not.

Individual responsibility is the solution to this problem. Anything else is just a band-aid. We’ll forever be kicking the soda can down the road.