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Op-Ed: Obese or Not Obese; That is The Question

All the talk about reforming health care will be meaningless if we can’t control the out-of-control obesity problem that is causing the cost of health care to mushroom. File photo: Amani A, Shutter Stock, licensed.

DELRAY BEACH, FL – The biggest health care problem in our country is not a lack of affordable health insurance, it is that too many Americans are obese (in other words, too damn fat) and no amount of affordable health insurance will make the situation better. To be totally upfront, I must admit that I am about 10 lbs. overweight, so in some ways, I am also part of the problem.

If you have a chance and want to relax, sit down on one of the chairs or benches in a shopping mall or flea market, and watch the people walk by.  I’ll bet you that over 50% of the people walking by have a weight problem and that more than half of them could be considered obese. Those people come in all ages, all colors and both genders. It is quite a sight. The way some of these weight-challenged (obese) people dress it looks like they are trying to put 10 lbs. of potatoes into a 5 lb. bag. It defies the law of physics.

How did we get into this mess? Well, it seems that our entrepreneurial American spirit for innovation in making life easier for us to conduct and live our lives, have added significantly to our tendency to put on the blubber. We don’t walk, we drive even around the block; we don’t eat home-cooked meals at home, like in the past, instead we order take-out or eat in fast food restaurants; we don’t play vigorous games or participate in sports as much as we did in earlier times; and the kind of food we eat regularly is chock full of weight producing calories that could and should be avoided. Add in the phenomenon, the excessive use of iPhones, by both young and old; in other words we are becoming too soft as well as too fat.

Obesity is quite evident in our young people and especially in the poor minority communities. It seems that the lower the income of people the bigger the girth around the middle as compared to higher income people – you’d think the opposite would be true, but look for yourself at the “Mall observation testing lab” – it’ll confirm what I’ve just said.

Physical education in today’s schools is not what it used to be either. Due to the fear of lawsuits and the “politically correct” police, schools are afraid to have students exert themselves by doing meaningful physical exercise or playing physical games (ex. Dodge Ball, tag etc.). Youngsters today spend too much sedentary time playing computer games and by sitting in front of their computers and TV’s for hours on end. That routine is not a healthy regimen to follow.

One result of pursuing this unhealthy lifestyle is the burgeoning incidence of Type II diabetes, especially in young people. All the talk about reforming health care will be meaningless if we can’t control the out-of-control obesity problem that is causing the cost of health care to mushroom. A government-run health care option, which former President Obama and Congress passed, only exacerbated the problem and did not alleviate it. Since health care rationing always comes about when the government gets involved, a person’s access to quality health care has been dramatically reduced as more and more sick people will be using our medical facilities as the pool of doctor’s, to treat these sick people, decrease in number.

So, in Shakespeare’s time the question was, “To be or not to be”, but in today’s frenetic times, the question is, “Obese or not Obese” and it will not be cured by government decree, or by government-run health care. We’ll need a significant dose of private enterprise and self-sufficiency as we wean ourselves from the “nanny state” mentality and by taking control of our own lives without the inhibiting aura of “big brother” hanging over our heads. Remember what former President Ronald Reagan once said, “Government is part of the problem, not the solution”. Now, go do the right thing!

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