President Barack Obama is taking a bold move this week to address both American public schools and, in prime time, a joint session of Congress. I pondered what I would say to both groups about Obamacare if I had the chance.
First, I would share the information from my four most recent columns, which concerned the four dirty secrets of Obamacare. In short, I'd tell them that it is too much about prescription and not enough about prevention.
I then would proceed to tell them something that the president never would: The majority of Americans (including all of them) can improve their health care coverage, improve their quality of life and live longer by simply taking better care of their own health. I'd tell them that the answer is not in big government solutions and that it's time for government to quit enabling the majority of Americans and equip them to fight for themselves and one another.
I'd tell them the truth is the No. 1 enemy of our health is not government, insurance companies or health care practitioners, but ourselves.
According to the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood and teen obesity in the U.S. has tripled over the past 30 years. Twenty-five percent of kids are overweight or obese, and most parents don't even know it. They also report that one-third of adults are overweight, with another third being obese. According to their data, those numbers have "increased sharply for both adults and children" since the 1970s. Food isn't our only consumptive threat. An estimated 1 in 6 adults also smokes cigarettes in the United States, which leads to a host of health risks and cancers. More than 50 percent of American adults don't exercise enough to provide any health benefits, and 25 percent of adults are not active at all in their leisure time.
The problems with being overweight and obese go far beyond looks. They affect our mentality and mobility and can lead to a number of physical diseases and ailments. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those include:
--Hypertension, or high blood pressure.
--Osteoarthritis, which is a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint.
--Dyslipidemia, e.g., high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides.
--Type 2 diabetes.
--Coronary heart disease.
--Sleep apnea and respiratory problems.
--Some cancers, including endometrial, breast and colon.