Chris Christie’s Weight Problem, And America’s

Christie talks about his weight around the 4:40 mark of this video.

Eugene Robinson’s Washington Post column this morning focuses on Chris Christie’s obesity. It also notes the exploding health care costs of a fatter America. A sample:

On average, health-care costs for obese persons are 42 percent higher than costs for individuals whose weight falls into the “normal” range. It costs Medicare $1,723more a year for an obese beneficiary than a non-obese one. For Medicaid the differential is $1,021, and for private insurers it’s $1,140. In other words, obesity is helping propel the rise in health-care costs, which are fueling the long-term rise in the national debt.

Health care costs will increase exponetionally over the coming years because of rampant obesity and an aging society. The National Institute of Health, as Robinson highlights, now estimates that a third of American adults (34%) are obese. This rate has doubled in the past forty years.

Childhood obesity is rising at a greater rate: it has more than tripled over the last thirty years, according to the Center for Disease Control. Over 20% of 6-11 year olds are now obese; 18% of 12-19 year olds have a BMI over 30 (the height/weight threshold for obesity).

First lady Michelle Obama has launched a White House Task Force to combat childhood obesity. It aims to reduce childhood obesity to 5% by 2030. Mrs. Obama wants healthier food in schools, better nutrition education and increased physical activity during the school day.

Both Obama and Robinson emphasize the calories in/calories out formula of weight loss. I think that’s the wrong focus; I’m a believer in the low carb approach. Excessive sugar consumption makes us fat.

The U.S. health establishment disagrees-for the past forty years it has endorsed low fat dieting. That is anathema to the high fat/low carb approach. The weight loss “experts” will come out in favor of low carb dieting around the time President Obama will support tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

That aside, watching what you eat is important. People must diet and exercise to lose weight and then to maintain weight loss.  And Robinson and Obama-no matter how much I disagree with their politics- should keep nagging Americans about our expanding waist-lines. Obesity has become an epidemic in our society.

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