In my last post on medical insurance reform I said, at the end, that of course there’s also the personal responsibility thing — if we’d lose weight and exercise more, we’d all cost the medical system less.
Great minds think alike, apparently: here’s an op-ed piece in the LA times (CLICK!) by an actual doctor who sees actual patients and who says precisely the same thing: Most of what ails us is directly related to what we put in our mouths and the fact that we don’t exercise.
I see this first hand — I have a good friend who, being 70, had hip replacement surgery a couple of years ago. He had to do it — his hip made it hard for him to do 100-mile bicycle rides. He did them, he just didn’t enjoy them much.
When he went into the hospital they asked him what meds he took. “None,” was his reply. No blood pressure meds, no cholesterol meds, no diabetes meds, no nothing beyond over the counter pain pills like everyone else takes.
After his surgery he was a week-ahead of where they said he should be on recovery, too. He healed faster, was up and around again sooner, had no problems and, now, beyond a slight limp, hikes with his dogs and rides his bicycle.
“Not all of us have had hip surery!” I like to tell him when I’m trying to keep up.
Ditto others, and ditto me. I’m 60, been riding for 15 years, and still don’t take any meds beyond my asthma stuff which, fortunately for me, is not that severe.
At the end of this op-ed the writer suggest perhaps rewards for people who exercise — a tax break for people with a low body mass index, or something. Good idea but, obviously, would never pass because it would mean two thirds of the population would have to pay more, or would not get the breaks. A proposal that fat people pay higher airplane fees ran into similar problems — screams of discrimination abounded, even though those folk are using twice as much plane fuel as I do.
The fact that that two thirds pays more now — for food, for medical care, for medicine, for earlier funerals, for reinforced beds and chairs — is something you could never get the government to do because it would really set off all the folks who think government is too big.
It is also not an argument that anyone listens to. Why can I say that?
Because, well, look around. Look at all the overweight people who are paying now, in money and hindered lives. They know, they don’t do anything about it. Some are victims of food addiction (yes, just like drugs and booze) but many are not. Until we have some sort of cultural turn-around, the situation is not going to change.
Meanwhile, unplug your TV and take a walk with your kids. Can’t hurt, might help.
Walk where? Around the block, or wherever. Try the local cemetery. There are probably 3,000 people living within a quarter mile of the Aultorest Cemetery near me, but Gimli and I very rarely see more than one or two folk on our daily walks (two miles) and if a dozen a day use it — and the owners don’t mind at all — I’d be amazed.