What Is Worse For Your Health?
Is Anything Worse than Obesity?
I am a serious cigar lover. I started smoking them when I was 25, and average at least one per day. I figured that if Stallone and Schwarzenegger can get away with it, then why not me? My girlfriend smokes cigarettes and our insurance considers her to be at a higher risk than I am. It is primarily because we cigar smokers do not inhale the smoke into our lungs, we just puff it out. More importantly, however, neither of us is overweight.
I have been saying for many, many years that obesity is far worse for one's health than smoking. However, there are numerous organizations running ads out there decrying tobacco use. You've seen them, they're disgusting, right?
It is merely a faintly stealth campaign against 'Big Tobacco' because 'Big Tobacco' lobbyists heavily favor Republicans in their donating. These same self-righteous left-wing groups have nothing to say about marijuana use. I'll bet they think it is just hunky dory.
Now, there are other types of ads becoming more and more prevalent and those are the ones with fat chicks in them who are apparently expressing some sort of 'Fat Pride' message. There was a Mobile Strike ad not long ago that featured morbidly obese....wait, what?....we can't call them 'obese' anymore?....it's what?!....oh for crissakes. Sorry, the ad about 'Plus-Sized' women in bikinis was banned by the advertising watchdog, get this, not for promoting this health hazard that is being fat, but because of its "sexually-charged" content, which it ruled was "offensive and objectified women". I could write for eons about how stupid that is, but let us stay on topic for now.
I can understand going after 'fat shaming' just as I can understand the anti-bullying movement because those are not nice things to do to a person, but to once again steer into the chubby skid, and do a complete swing to the other end of the pendulum is bad too because it implies that being fat is somehow a good thing that ought to be a source of pride. No, being fat is bad.
Ever notice how everyone, and I mean everyone, celebrates whenever someone brags about how much weight they have lost? That is simply because no one wants to be fat. Has anyone ever announced, "I lost 45 pounds since beginning my new diet!" and someone in the room says, "Oh darn, I am so sorry to hear that?" No? Then explain the 'fat pride' movement to me again.
Hear are the leading causes of death in the U.S. in order (number of deaths for leading causes of death):
- Heart disease: 633,842
- Cancer: 595,930
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 146,571
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 140,323
- Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561
- Diabetes: 79,535
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 57,062
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 49,959
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193
"But where is obesity?" you ask. Well, obesity can cause or lead to many, many problems. People who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:
- All-causes of death (mortality)
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems
- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
- Low quality of life
- Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders8,9
- Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning10
Get my point now? The one that stood out to me was cancer. Obesity can cause cancer! But since some people, God love 'em, are just too darn lazy or undisciplined, we just make it easy for them to pretend (like Eric Cartman) that they're not 'fat'! No, no, no....this is just their life choice, and we are not allowed to criticize, or we will be labeled 'fat shamers.'
Rather than participate in this delusion, I would like to offer some advise. I am a doctor of pharmacy, after all. It is not this simple, clearly, but try to remember this simple formula - calories in < calories out. If you simply try to burn more calories with a modicum of exercise, and try cutting back on how many calories you consume, then you will most likely begin to lose weight. Other things can help too: do not eat past a certain time at night (say 7 pm), do not go for a second helping (just say no), watch your portion sizes on the first helping (don't over stack your plate), do not rely on fast food (plan ahead and prepackage something healthy), cut back on alcohol (beer = fat), and walk as much as possible (do not be sedentary). This will do the most good for the poor and minorities who are disproportionately over weight.
Lastly, this will save our country a fortune. Obesity and its associated health problems have a significant economic impact on the U.S. health care system, obviously. Costs associated with obesity are direct and indirect. Direct includes preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services related to obesity. Indirect includes morbidity and mortality costs as well as productivity, which includes ‘absenteeism’ (costs due to employees being absent from work for obesity-related health reasons) and ‘presenteeism’ (decreased productivity of employees while at work) as well as premature mortality and disability. Any of you pharmacists out there work with someone in the pharmacy who can barely move and plants their ass on the stool never to be wedged out of it again until the end of their shift? You know what I'm talking about. They're just a wheezing heart attack waiting to happen. Anyway, continuing...
National Estimated Costs of Obesity
The medical care costs of obesity in the United States in 2008 dollars were estimated to be $147 billion. The annual nationwide productive costs of obesity obesity-related absenteeism range between $3.38 billion ($79 per obese individual) and $6.38 billion ($132 per obese individual). Not to mention the lack of productivity due to a person who gets winded walking from the couch to the bathroom.
The point I am trying to make is that rather than do one of two extremes (fat shame or fat pride), why don't we admit there is a problem and help people to overcome it? If anyone out there reading this would like to ask me questions on diet, exercise, disease states, life expectancy, or anything relating to this issue, then I encourage you to please leave a comment and I will help the best I can. We cannot help by being politically correct stooges, but we can help by being honest, direct, and genuinely compassionate (not fake like the left wingers who just hate anyone who supports the Republican party and/or conservative principles).
This is stupid.