We are in the midst of a national health crisis. As American’s we are fatter and sicker than ever before. The latest CDC report estimates that approximately 3 out of 4 Americans are overweight, and nearly 2/3 of those who are overweight, are obese. To calculate if a person is overweight or obese, doctors use what is called a Body Mass Index or BMI measurement. Essentially, it’s the ratio of your height to your weight. (At the bottom of the page I have included a link to the CDC’s BMI calculator.)
United States Rankings with Overweight and Obese as Criterion:
- Percent of adults age 20 years and over with overweight, including obesity: 70.7%
- Percent of adults age 20 years and over with obesity: 37.9%
- Percent of adolescents age 12-19 years with obesity: 20.6%
- Percent of children age 6-11 years with obesity: 17.4%
And it’s not just adults who are suffering. One in three children born in the year’s 2000 and beyond will develop type 2 Diabetes. (1) And for the first time in our nation’s history, it is predicted that these kids will not live as long as their parents. (2)
When I was a kid in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents was extremely low, and quite frankly very rare. Unfortunately, as processed foods and dollar menus at fast food restaurants have taken over that has changed.
And sadly, it’s not just children’s physical health that suffers. In a recent national survey of overweight sixth graders, 24 percent of the boys and 30 percent of the girls experienced daily teasing, bullying or rejection because of their size. (3) Tragic.
The United States is ranked number one in the world for crisis care. If you’ve been in a car accident, and you need to be put back together again, you’re in the right place. However, if you’re worried about your health, you may be in trouble.
The United States health care system ranked dead LAST in the developed world. (4) Yet, we spend the MORE on health care than anyone else in the world, (5) and we are still the sickest nation on earth. “We endure some of the worst rates of heart disease, lung disease, obesity, and diabetes in the world.” (6)
So why do we spend so much and get so little? In his book, “The China Study” Dr. T. Colin Campbell says it best, “Health care is really disease care, and it’s big business. Every year over a trillion dollars is riding on what we choose to eat and how we choose to treat sickness and promote health.” (7)
In the first quarter of this year, McDonald’s reported a profit of $1.1 billion. Yes, that’s 1.1 billion dollars in 3 months. Their gain equals our loss.
“The combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses put together ($33.7 billion). (8)
Drug companies rely on the fact that Americans will eat poorly, get sick, take drugs, then get really sick. The two biggest culprits are heart disease and cancer. And guess what? When you put yourself in harms way you run the risk that own health care system will kill you.
Medical errors, which include misdiagnosis, or not treating the root cause, adverse drug reactions or interactions, improper transfusions, and mistaken patient identities, (What???) (9) are all too common, thus making our own health care system the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. My own Dad spent 7 days in the hospital last month because of adverse drug interactions. One of the drugs he was given, he didn’t even need to take! I was once overdosed on morphine, (by a nurse who didn’t read my chart correctly) even though the doctor’s orders were for Tylenol.
PAY NOW OR PAY LATER:
We have a choice. We can choose how to spend our money. And we can choose what to put in our mouths. We are busy people. I am a mom of three kids, believe me, I know. Balancing school, work, sports, travel, and everything else we do, it would be really easy for me to drive thru somewhere and pick up food. Or throw a pre-made processed meal in the oven because I’m too tired to cook.
What you put in your body HAS TO BE A PRIORITY. What you feed your kids fuels their growth and their brains. It also sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating. When nutrition becomes a priority, it becomes a conversation and a tool for learning. By the way, did you know there is as much protein in a nut (peanut, almond, cashew) butter and jelly sandwich as there is in a McDonald’s hamburger?
My kids know how to convert sugar from grams to teaspoons. When they want something sugary from the grocery store, they have to calculate the sugar content. Nine times out of ten when they know how much sugar is in something they voluntarily put it back.
I often hear people say that they can feed a family of 4 from the dollar menu way cheaper than they can feed them at home. Here’s why: The reason fresh organic fruits and vegetables are expensive is because the government doesn’t subsidize fruits and vegetables.
A subsidy is a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service remains low or competitive. A cheeseburger from McDonald’s is only a dollar, because our government subsidizes the wheat, dairy, and meat industries. They’re keeping us overweight and unhealthy.
THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’
But Americans are getting smarter. Thanks to their Wild Oats Marketplace, Wal-Mart is now a viable competitor of Whole Foods. Whole Foods is now lowering their prices because the demand for healthy foods is at an all time high. Sales of organic foods in the U.S. jumped 11.3 percent, to $39.1 billion last year, according to the Organic Trade Association. (12) YES!!!
Doctors are NOT required to take courses in nutrition. So find a GOOD nutritionist and do what they say. I chose to adopt a plant-based diet, and in 4 months my blood pressure went from 126/170 to 116/58. My reflux and joint pain are gone, and in 6 months I had lost 34 pounds.
My doctor was amazed and asked me how I did it. I told him I was tired of not feeling good and didn’t want to be a slave to pills. So I decided to change my diet and exercise. I said, “No offense, Doc, but I don’t want to see you anymore.” He laughed and said, “On one hand, I wish all of my patients were like you, but on the other hand, I have to pay my bills.”