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Obesity Costs The Nation $147 Billion Annually

A year or so ago there was a lawyer who sued McDonald's or was it Burger King? - Anyway the thrust of the suit was that the fast food culture is killing us and it's got to be stopped. The fast food industry should take some responsibility for our inability to take care of ourselves. Tort reform advocates came out in droves. What, don't we have the right to over indulge and eat what we want? Just another example of a system gone out of control. Maybe this was going a little too far, but a report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a report this week which is "food for thought" www.cdc.gov . Based on recent a survey of 400,000 people, 72.5 million of us are just plain fat. That's 26.7% of the population. And, yes I am one of those whose doctor has said should lose weight. At least I work out everyday like a madman - not that this is an excuse. The CDC has said that this number is probably conservative since people have a tendency to fudge a little when it comes to their weight. The cost of this obesity in hard cold dollars is about $147 billion a year. According to Dr. Frieden who is the director of the CDC, get ready for more people to start getting sick and dying from all the complications associated with this disease. Programs to educate consumers have been unsuccessful so far.  What can we do about it? Aside from it burdening our health care system, it's sad to see those we love suffer from this problem. At the risk of sounding like one of those liberals who want to tax and spend this is a serious issue that we must deal with - now. Many of the states with the highest levels of obesity like Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia are also states with the highest levels of poverty and lowest standards for education. Fruits, vegetable and good sources of protein are expensive by comparison to bulk carbohydrates. When I go to the grocery store with my wife on the weekends and look at the stuff in people's carts I am astounded. How could it be that we still feed kids sugar-coated carbs for breakfast? Part of the answer has to be restraint and a generational shift. We have to get through one solid generation of kids who eat right in order to make it part of our culture. The experts also say that states like Colorado, which is the healthiest, have developed a culture of exercise with walking paths and running trails and biking. Short of us all moving to Colorado we have to start teaching and educating our children on eating right and exercising but it has to start with us big people first. Dennis F.  Feeley

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