What can be done about obesity?

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We have First Lady Michelle Obama asking everyone to introduce activity to our children and into our daily lives. We have Mayor Michael Bloomberg forcing change by trying to control the ordering size of beverages. We have Jennifer Hudson singing will power into losing the weight. What are the consumers (the obese) doing to take part? If they are not willing to become a part of this issue, then it will not change. The incentives for losing the weight only benefits the obese.  It is their health care premium rates that will not drastically increase; they are not forced to vacate the airplane or pay for an extra seat. With their employers knowing that they do care and are actively involved in transforming their lives, job opportunities could also increase. It is a win-win for those that are obese to become actively involved in their lives.

Why is it so difficult for those that are obese to move out of their on way, which includes minimizing the ridicule, the doubt, and stereotypic behaviors?

Change is hard. There is so much uncertainty in change. The doubt and fear are crippling (Saltz 2007): What if I do not do well? What if I fail? What if I stop and cannot start again? Will the new look suit me? Can I handle the change, both physically and mentally? What if I gain, and not lose?

The war on obesity is not about food size or money, but that of a mental blockage, in my opinion. As Dr. Saltz (2007) stated, finding what triggered the weight gain is life changing. I cannot imagine a person wanting a pass over a job opportunity, mistreatment, or discriminated against because of their weight. Although, many of us may not do well avoiding misery, I am sure it is not sought after. That’s a part of life. We can wish life perfect; however, it comes with trials and tribulations. Some of our issues is weight; some have issues with drugs and alcohol.  The vast difference is those that are overweight/obese cannot hide what is so obvious, and are immediately placed at a disadvantage. It does not mean that all obese people are slow, stupid, uncaring, uneducated, or writhing with loneliness and unhappiness. Quite often, we are seen, before we are heard, therefore escaping the stereotypes become very difficult.

The insurance premiums will continue to rise; the airlines will continue to increase rates. It will be the same story as the smokers. Anyone that is obese should expect this to happen. Right and wrong is not my argument. In sake of competition, businesses are going to stay competitive, and this is another way to increase revenue. What we must understand is that it is not anyone’s responsibility to correct this problem, but that of the obese. Yes, we can face the issue of whether it is morally or ethically wrong for organizations to make profit for what some consider as a mental disorder, but can we really blame them?

Understanding that creating revenue is a chain reaction, when more than one type of organization can find profit, in a problem area. The insurance companies can decrease reimbursement rates on physicians, because they are seeing the patient often. The self-funded employer groups can ask that certain diabetic supplies and high blood pressure medicines be excluded from the formulary or durable medical equipment policy. The airlines can increase rates for their plus size customers. Head hunters can assume that their percentage will decrease, because there is a perceived notion that someone overweight is not appealing or physically suited for a job.

The increasing health care cost of America’s most visible consumers are that of the obese. The obese are not the only cost drivers, but this is a campaign issue, due to health care reform. Obesity has an estimated annual price tag, nationally, of $190 billion (Begley 2012). This sticker price guarantees this issue is not leaving anytime soon.

So what can be done about obesity? We, you, them cannot do anything, only I can affect change. If this is in fact a mental disorder, then this has to be acknowledged and handled appropriately, by the obese person. If it is a choice to become overweight, then accepting all that comes with it, has to become a part of daily living.

References:

Saltz, Gail (2007). Conquer your fears about losing excess weight. MSNBC. Retrieved from http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/19488269/ns/today-relationships/t/conquer-your-fears-about-losing-excess-weight/

Begley, Sharon (2012). The Cost of Obesity. The HuffingtonPost.com. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/obesity-costs-dollars-cents_n_1463763.html

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