Monday, November 30, 2009

It's OUR Responsibility

I sit here with ice packs on both shoulders and right groin after a grueling 3 hour work out: [which I highly recommend icing the “hot” spots (shoulders, knees and lower back) after a work such as this one.] 60 minutes on my personal spinning bike, 60 minutes on the punching bag with core work and 60 minutes of total body weight training. (It was a rough Thanksgiving!)

I was reminded of the intense workouts on the Biggest Loser. Speaking of which, this past weeks show was extraordinarily special because my fave financial goddess was on, Suze Orman. She brought with her some of the latest stats on OUR costs of being overweight or obese.

Each year just continues to get worse.......Here you can check them out:

*147 BILLION dollars is spent annually in the U.S on obesity related health illnesses like high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, type II diabetes.

*Obesity increases the expenses for the things that are essential like $500 to $1000 dollars per year for life insurance.... as well as health insurance.

*Obese employees earn 7 THOUSAND dollars less per year then their peers. If you are overweight or obese, you miss work because you are sick. This costs your employer money.... you lose money, especially if you have run out of sick days.

*If a family of four can swap one meal of eating out for eating at home, they can save $8760.00 in one year. Eating at home, one meal daily, you will save $24.00 per day above the cost of food.

*4.4 BILLION dollars is spent yearly by Americans on gastric bypass surgery.

*220,000 Americans get gastric bypass surgery a year and it costs them approximately $20,000.00 for each surgery. (and this is now covered by most insurance companies)

*We spend 90 BILLION dollars on cancer treatments yearly; and 57 BILLION more on obesity related treatments annually.

*If you lose back to your ideal weight, you can save up to a MILLION dollars over a 40 year period.

Let’s face this..... over weight and obesity costs everyone BIG money! Seriously BIG money.

As a health and fitness professional in the health industry for 30 years or so, I get asked my humble opinion on the VERY HEATED topic of the health insurance situation all the time. I don’t speak out on it much at all because it is futile and nobody wants to hear my position.. Because nobody wants to take responsibility for their own health.

It won’t matter what type of health care is finally decided upon and adopted if we as a nation continue to ignore our own personal health and the responsibility WE have for it... NOT the government and NOT the insurance companies. You read the stats above...... poor health is costly to you, your family, your employer, the insurance companies, and to those of us that are healthy.

In my humble opinion......We are entering thru the back door of this health care issue. We are taking a REactive stance and not a PROactive position. The focus for the people of this nation is to work at getting healthy by stopping smoking (for God's sake!) losing weight, partaking in daily exercise and stopping devouring fast foods and processed foods... which in themselves are billion dollar industries..... bound to keep us all driving thru and porking down nothing more then high trans fats, sodium, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, high calories, & nutrient deficient “crap!” Instead of promoting the gastric by pass surgeries as a solution; money should be spent instead on educating people & teaching them how to “bypass” unhealthy eating habits and to subscribe to healthy eating void of fast “food,” “food” in a box, a jar or a can.

Ok, so I understand... we are all human. We naturally are driven to these high calorie, high dense, high fat foods and it is tough as our bodies become truly addicted to fats, sodium, fake sweeteners and sugars.....everything found in fast foods and processed foods. So, why not offer an incentive to all of us to get healthy and to stay healthy?

Corporate and government employers could give out end of the year bonuses, raises, time off, & extra vacation time if you, as an employee, have worked hard, lost the blubber and maintained your healthy weight, healthy blood sugar levels, healthy cholesterol levels and healthy blood pressure over the past year. Provide in-house fitness centers, offer gym memberships and sessions with personal trainers to help your employees achieve optimum health. In the long run, by providing the tools, access to education and offering incentives, this will save billions of dollars in sick days taken, insurance premiums, doctor bills, Rx costs and every other cost related to being unhealthy.

Get the people healthy.... keep them healthy..... and the only need for insurance will be if you have a car accident, fall off the roof, break your arm skiing, or for your annual checkup.

This is too simplistic, I realize, only because we are dealing with industries that make BILLIONS of dollars off the sick, the over weight and the obese. And there are a few exceptions as well. But.. because of this, sadly.....nothing is going to change. We will continue smoking, not exercising and eating and eating and eating until we become 50... 75.... 100.... 200.... 300 plus lbs over weight. We get sick, we need insurance. We get high blood pressure, type II diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer medications, we need insurance. We get gastric bypass or lap band surgery, we need insurance.

This is the reason I rarely voice my opinion when asked what I think should happen with the health care disaster...... no one wants to hear that in order to resolve this issue....we MUST take responsibility for our own health.

Ok, now that the ice has melted.... it’s time to hit the shower!!

Until next time.....



  1. Amen! Reminds me of a Bill Maher New Rule article I read the other day...offensive perhaps, but very funny: (hopefully that's the right address, for some reason i can't paste so i typed it out)

  2. YES!!! I saw thought too!! Excellent article!

    Money needs to made off a healthy public and NOT off of sick people!