Thursday, July 30, 2009

More disturbing news - childhood obesity

OK I will try and post something more upbeat promise next time.

This tragic disturbing I don't know what words to use trend: children are becoming severely obese at a rate 3 times what it was 25 years ago.

from this tweet:

KathleenShowRT @ DrAyala Study: Rates of SEVERE childhood obesity tripled, putting many kids at risk for diabetes and heart disease

This story

Children are not only becoming obese, but becoming severely obese, which impacts their overall health," said Joseph Skelton, M.D., lead author and director of the Brenner FIT (Families in Training) Program. "These findings reinforce the fact that medically-based programs to treat obesity are needed throughout the United States and insurance companies should be encouraged to cover this care."

Also this

Researchers also looked at the impact of severe obesity and found that a third of children in the severely obese category were classified as having metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors for heart attack, stroke and diabetes. These risk factors include higher-than normal blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels.

"These findings demonstrate the significant health risks facing this morbidly obese group," wrote the researchers in their report. "This places demands on health care and community services, especially because the highest rates are among children who are frequently underserved by the health care system."

The kids are generally poorer and many are from minority group populations.

I think it bears repeating that PREVENTING this has got to be a paramount goal, because those dollars are usually pennies in comparison with treatment of obesity itself or the fallout of other associated diseases.

We can debate the causes - I think HFCS, fast food, lifestyle could all be considered here. But it's clear what the preventative medicine should consist of: change in intake and a change in lifestyle to increase exercise and reduce stress. Otherwise it's clear health costs and costs for society in loss of productivity and quality of life for millions will be the result - we will be paying for these poor suffering kids for years to come if we don't!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Obese spend 42% more on health care

It's now more than 9% of all medical expenses and rising fast:

We need to address this epidemic!

The detailed study piles up one troubling statistic after another. Per capita medical spending for obese people is $1,429 higher per year than for someone of normal weight, a 42% difference. The condition now accounts for 8.5% of Medicare's expenditures and 11.8% of Medicaid's. Spending on prescription drugs alone for an obese Medicare beneficiary is $600 more per year than for prescriptions used by someone of normal weight.

Spending associated with obesity is almost entirely tied to the cost of treating diseases closely associated with the condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and even cancer (about one-third of cancer cases are linked to obesity). Diabetes alone costs the nation $191 billion a year. "If not for obesity, these costs would be much lower," the researchers said. "The connection between rising rates of obesity and rising medical spending is undeniable."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How did the world go from malnourished to obese?

Provocative topic but a good point - we used to be concerned about hunger. In many places we still should be. There's the point - malnourishment can still be an issue, but why are we getting obese?

Here's a list of some pretty good possible answers:

Why in the heck did the world's chief food problem shift from malnutrition to obesity? Why the World Is Fat

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Award to elementary class for focus on health

Got a great tweet on how one elementary school is taking on childhood obesity...

The Danville school to get award for focus on ...

The alliance established the Healthy Schools Program to help schools develop and implement polices and practices that promote eating healthy and increasing physical activity. It's working with more than 4,800 schools across the country.

Northeast has been involved since it became a health and wellness school in July 2007. It was then that the school started serving healthy meals, and students started taking physical education daily instead of two or three times a week. And teachers, who participate in their own healthy activities, also incorporated healthy living into their lessons plans.

To earn a national award – bronze, silver, gold and platinum – schools must show they have implemented best practices in physical activity, school employee wellness, physical education and before- and after-school programs.

More on the healthy schools program here:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tool for tracking environmental causes of disease

CDC_eHealthHow does the environment affect your health? Find out on the new Tracking Network at

They've got information by location, source (water, air...) and type of disease.

For instance I can pull up Massachusetts

Then Content area well water, levels of contaminants in well water and finally arsenic. I found via independent testing that my well has As in it. Might be a useful tool for some health data, although it appears there's not much in it yet.