The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


As I was watching CNBC yesterday, the CEO of CIGNA Insurance was interviewed. In the course of the conversation he said that “64% of all Americans are overweight and 35% of us are obese.” I didn’t check the facts as he stated them but I figure that since this is his business he probably knows what he’s talking about. (I don’t know what the definition of “obesity” is – but it’s probably like pornography – you know it when you see it). And here in Las Vegas you see it a lot.

When I first moved here I found that the buffets were an affordable and convenient venue for dinner. I enjoyed the variety of foods from which I could select and the fact that I had to do no cooking or cleanup. Unfortunately, after a couple of months of consistent buffet dining, I also put on 20 pounds. So I took stock and said that I could continue to dine at the buffet but I had to limit my intake and make intelligent selections in the foods I put on my plate. Otherwise I was going to have to replace my wardrobe with clothes in larger sizes.

While I had gained those 20 pounds in only two months it took me four months to shed them. But I did – while still enjoying my evening buffet meals. I am reminded of this because tomorrow is Thanksgiving – the national Holiday celebrating the existence of carbohydrates and over-eating. It is the perfect excuse for those of us who have a tendency to over-consume to do so with perfect impunity. And I’m sure many Americans will take full advantage of that opportunity.

This brings us to the question of health and “Healthcare”.

In this writer’s opinion, whether it was before or after the passage of “Obamacare”, the USA does not have a “Healthcare System”. What we have is a “Disease-Maintenance System.” In other words, we wait until our unhealthy habits have brought us to a critical state adversely affecting our health. Then we go to the doctor who prescribes us one or more different pharmaceuticals (all of which have nasty side effects and 90% of which merely treat the symptoms rather than the underlying problem). And so we embark on a life-long relationship with the large pharmaceutical companies – providing them with an annuity because we didn’t take care of ourselves in the first place. 

The good news is that many of the conditions which we have brought on ourselves can be mollified or eliminated if we replace our bad habits with good ones. That, of course, does require resolve and discipline. 

I am reminded of one of those “common sense” statements that Grandma used to say to me, “If you have your health you have everything.”

Let me share another quote with you. 

The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

What idiot could have uttered those words? Our “healthcare system” operates in exactly the opposite manner – and with “Obamacare” we are hoping to ensnare even more people in a system that has proven itself to be filled with excessive costs and inefficiencies.

Well, the fool who made that statement was the man whom Time Magazine recognized as “The Man of the 20th Century” – Thomas Alva Edison.

So as we sit down to our dinner on Thursday let’s keep in mind that we don’t have to over eat – unless we choose to do so. We can ask for a half size slice of pie – or even skip dessert entirely. Our health ultimately is within our own hands. Let’s hold on to it with a firm grip.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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