Downsizing Problems

~~ A Commentary on Health Issues ~~

I'm convinced that many Americans have a lot of extra money — that or they like to pay a lot of extra taxes — that or they like a lot of social problems.

The United States and most industrialized nations in the world are in the midst of a 'preventable' diabetes epidemic. I say preventable because whether people get diabetes at all in their lifetime (or when they get it) is governed mainly by their eating and exercise habits. As a nation, we may not have known this years ago but we most definitely know this today.

I have listened to and read about how people have a right to do to their bodies anything they would like. They extend this argument to their children as well.

I say to them: FINE. But, if double the number of kids end up with premature diabetes because of their actions as a parent, are they willing to pay for the additional health insurance and health expenses their kids will incur when they become adults? If they are willing to ante up the money — I say: GO FOR IT.

Along the same lines, related to their own health, if they end up prematurely with diabetes--perhaps in their 40's or 50's versus 70's or 80's, if they say to me: 'I like paying taxes and I am willing to pay more in taxes for this decision,' I once again say: FINE: Let's have a checkoff box on the IRS tax forms that notes that they want to be charged a higher tax rate.

It is EASY to specifically say that Medicare NEEDS for money are directly related to the number of people who show up in the health care system. If the system needs more money because of the individual (preventable) choices of a few, then I would also say that those few are saying that they are more than willing to pay more taxes. They cannot believe that everything is free.

If you visit a wound clinic, the doctors and nurses there will tell you that most of the patients who need to be treated have diabetes. These people end up losing toes, feet, legs, etc. That is on top of the core cost of treating the diabetes.

Now, the body is an interesting machine. If you equate it to a car, you could say that many well-built and well-maintained cars could be on the road for up to 400,000-500,000 miles fairly easily. Equating that to age (since the greater percentage of people who are born could be considered well-built), a person might live to 80-100 years of age without any major breakdowns if they are well-maintained.

If you thought of the body (with it's pancreas) as an engine that needed the right kind of fuel and a good operator, it would be easy to say that you'd never dump a bunch of sugar in the gas tank. NOTE: Sugar is one kind of fuel source but if you put it in the gas tank of a car, I do not believe the car will run. If it does run at all, it will run less efficiently.

Now, I believe in personal choice--when those choices are really personal. But if a person makes something more expensive for me or someone else, THAT is not a personal choice — UNLESS they say to me: I know my choice will increase these costs and I still want to make it anyway. I have set aside extra money for my children so they can pay for their added expenses. I am going to send more money to the federal and state governments because I know that it costs money to pay for extra health care expenses.

Personal choice is an interesting concept — when those choices cost OTHER people money.


P.S. When people read text, they can many times infer ALL sorts of things — like: the person who wrote this text never eats candy or ice cream or cake. Not so: I am actually a carbohydrate addict who has a list of foods I try never to eat except when I am doing heavy-duty labor. For a person who used to do farm work, field work in outdoor techie areas, warehouse work and work in the Youth Conservation Corp at various points in life, it is possible to say that I rarely today do heavy-duty labor (I know what it is).

Many people would also say: they have never had to deal with being overweight. Not so: If you looked at my freshman and sophomore pictures in high school, you would not know that they were the same person. Fortunately, after a LOT of years, I still look more like my sophomore picture (a bit heavier and definitely older).

IF a person thinks that they are a carbohydrate ADDICT (i.e. when they eat certain foods, they get hungrier — usually a phenomenon tied to sugar, salt and fat), I would recommend an excellent book entitled: The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever by Clark & Aronson (even for guys). Although I have never fit into a little black dress, this is the best book I've ever read regarding dessert strategies (yes, you need a strategy!)

To summarize: eat healthy on all the basics; eat ONE bite (or none at all) of the foods that makes you hungry (this keeps your body from 'sliding into' the carb or any kind of craving mode).

If I go to a birthday party, I do my best to limit myself to one bite of cake. I remind myself that throwing the rest of the cake away costs (to me) a lot less than eating it.

I do MAKE SURE I eat some chocolate every day and walk as much as I can. Everyone I know that has explored their own nutritional needs (usually because they were overweight at some point in time) does something a little bit different: This works for me.