Tag Archives: Obesity

Does America Have A COVID Problem Or An Obesity Problem? by Tyler Durden

The elephant in the room in the many debates about Covid-19 and comorbidities is obesity. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

While we have previously reported – and by now it is common knowledge – that Covid-19 usually kills only the very old with virtually no deaths in the 45 and under category and most deaths in the 75 and over category.

Indeed, as Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid noted when discussing the average age of fatalities from Covid, “it is remarkably consistent around the 80-82 year old mark.”

Then overnight, Bloomberg’s John Authers pointed out how startling this mortality rate varies from country to country, when referencing another chart from Jim Reid:

As Authers writes, “The U.S. is a remarkable outlier. How can that possibly be?”

According to Reid, a small part of this might be down to many of the other countries having an older population. For example, Italy’s median age is 45 (43 in Europe), whereas it is 38 for the US.

However, another explanation offered by the Bloomberg commentator, which feeds into the political debate of the moment, “is that all the other developed countries on this chart have some form of universal state-provided healthcare.” But rather than get embroiled in that debate, Authers instead looks at the normal average age of people when they die. The following is a chart of life expectancy (in years) at birth for all the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development:

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Obesity increases risk of Covid-19 death by 48%, study finds, by Sarah Boseley

Obesity is a prevalent coronavirus comorbidity. From Sarah Boseley at theguardian.com:

The Covid intensive care unit at Western general hospital in Edinburgh

The Covid intensive care unit at Western general hospital in Edinburgh. People with obesity were found to be 74% more likely to be admitted to intensive care. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50% and may make vaccines against the disease less effective, according to a comprehensive study using global data.

The findings, which the lead researcher described as “scary”, show that the risks for people with obesity are greater than previously thought.

The study – a collaborative effort between the University of North Carolina (UNC), Saudi Health Council and World Bank – will increase pressure on governments to tackle obesity, including in the UK where Boris Johnson has put himself at the head of a drive to reduce the nation’s weight.

It emerged ahead of a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research that calls on the government to go further than its recent initiatives, which include restrictions on junk food advertising and supermarket offers.

The thinktank says a giant leap, akin to progress on sanitation in Victorian times, is needed to bring down obesity levels that shorten lives by causing heart conditions, strokes, type 2 diabetes and cancers, and impose a huge cost on the NHS.

It urges the government to employ a combination of taxes and subsidies, and proposes a new non-essential food levy of 8% on unhealthy foods that exceed a certain energy density or calorie count. Such taxes have worked in Mexico and Hungary, where people are eating less of such foods and manufacturers are reformulating their products to be healthier.

The prime minister hit out last year at “sin taxes” such as the UK’s sugary drinks levy, but his own spell in intensive care with Covid-19, which he blames on his weight, has convinced him that tough measures are needed to reduce obesity levels. It is understood that even taxes are no longer off the table.

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America’s Obesity Epidemic Threatens Effectiveness of Any COVID Vaccine, by Sarah Varney

Vaccines don’t work as well on obese people. From Sarah Varney at khn.org:

As scientists race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, experts say obesity could prove an impediment — a sobering prospect for a nation in which nearly half of all adults are obese. (Lynne Shallcross/KHN illustration; Getty Images)

For a world crippled by the coronavirus, salvation hinges on a vaccine.

But in the United States, where at least 4.6 million people have been infected and nearly 155,000 have died, the promise of that vaccine is hampered by a vexing epidemic that long preceded COVID-19: obesity.

Scientists know that vaccines engineered to protect the public from influenza, hepatitis B, tetanus and rabies can be less effective in obese adults than in the general population, leaving them more vulnerable to infection and illness. There is little reason to believe, obesity researchers say, that COVID-19 vaccines will be any different.

“Will we have a COVID vaccine next year tailored to the obese? No way,” said Raz Shaikh, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

“Will it still work in the obese? Our prediction is no.”

More than 107 million American adults are obese, and their ability to return safely to work, care for their families and resume daily life could be curtailed if the coronavirus vaccine delivers weak immunity for them.

In March, still early in the global pandemic, a little-noticed study from China found that heavier Chinese patients afflicted with COVID-19 were more likely to die than leaner ones, suggesting a perilous future awaited the U.S., whose population is among the heaviest in the world.

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Health Care Laws Should Be Abolished, by Doug Casey

Free markets in medical care and medical insurance would produce far better health care and at much lower cost than the present abominations. From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:

Editor’s note: The ninth democratic debate aired on Wednesday night. Six candidates qualified (including billionaire Mike Bloomberg) and the event is being compared to a “Vegas boxing match”…

One of the biggest topics up for discussion (and beatdown) was healthcare – who should pay for it, whether it’s a human right, and whether frontrunner Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan is in any way feasible.

Of course, Casey Research founder Doug Casey has a lot to say on the subject… and his proposed solution may shock you…

By Doug Casey, founder, Casey Research

How to reform the U.S. “health care” system is a continuing topic in the news. I put that phrase in quotes because it’s a misnomer. You don’t insure your health – that can’t be done. You can only insure that the costs of medical care, if your health fails, will be covered. Saying “health care” makes people think that someone else will magically assure their health, which is impossible. Collectivists like to use the phrase as part of their continuing war on what words mean, and how people think.

Health is something you do for yourself with proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle decisions. Medical care is something very different; it’s what you need for acute trauma or disease. People want good health, but all insurance can give them is hospitals, doctors, and medicines – all of which are scary.

In any event, there does seem to be universal agreement on two related matters. One, that Americans are overweight, underexercised, and overmedicated. Two, that the U.S. medical care system is “broken” and something needs to be done. I have a radical proposal, even though there’s not a chance in hell it will ever be adopted or even discussed in public.

Here it is: Not only should there be no form of national medical care, but Medicare, Medicaid, the FDA, and all laws regulating anything to do with medicine and health should be abolished. Why? Because they are the actual cause of the crisis.

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Supreme Court Allows Victims Of Heart Disease, Obesity To Sue Utensil Manufacturer, from The Babylon Bee

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Acme Forks & Knives was trying to block a lawsuit brought against them by the obese community. The lawsuit suggested that the company’s utensils were deadly tools that caused people to become overweight.

The Supreme Court has blocked the company’s attempt to block the lawsuit, paving the way for victims of heart disease and other diet-related ailments to sue Acme.

“Finally—the big forks and knives lobby will be held accountable for contributing to heart disease and obesity, the leading causes of death among American adults,” said a spokesperson for the oppressed obese community. “No human action leads to these deaths. It is entirely on the sentient utensils used to carry out the mass eating events.”

“Blood is on their hands!” protesters cried. “Fight the corporate fork and knife lobby!”

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in these lawsuits have presented evidence that Acme Forks & Knives have marketed their utensils to the obese, specifically encouraging them to shovel a bunch of food in their mouths. They also said it was dangerous and irresponsible for the company to market a “fully automatic assault spork” that can shove “300 rounds of chili” into your face in under 10 seconds.

“Nobody needs that kind of forkpower,” said one lawyer. “We will get justice for the obvious cause of this epidemic of deaths: the guys who make the utensils.”

https://babylonbee.com/news/supreme-court-allows-obese-people-to-sue-utensil-manufacturer

Food Is Freedom: How Washington’s Food Subsidies Have Helped Make Americans Fat and Sick, by ammo.com

Examine most social ills and you’ll find the government’s fingerprints. Food woes like obesity are no exception. From ammo.com:

Farm subsidies are perhaps the ultimate, but secret, third rail of American politics. While entitlements are discussed out in the open, farm subsidies are rarely talked about – even though they are the most expensive subsidy Washington doles out.

All told, the U.S. government spends $20 billion annually on farm subsidies, with approximately 39 percent of all farms receiving some sort of subsidy. For comparison, the oil industry gets about $4.6 billion annually and annual housing subsidies total another $15 billion. A significant portion of this $20 billion goes not to your local family farm, but to Big Aggie.

(Note that this $20 billion annual farm subsidy figure doesn’t take into account the 30+ years of ethanol subsidies to the corn industry nor export subsidies to U.S. farmers issued by the USDA.)

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Socialized Medicine Won’t Solve America’s Obesity Problem, by Ryan McMaken

Obesity is the public health problem nobody wants to talk about, perhaps because so many people are obese. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Last week, researchers at the the University of Washington released a new study predicting that US life expectancy would fall further and further behind other countries over the next twenty years. Life expectancy will continue to increase, but at a slower rate than many other countries.

Whether or not these predictions ever come true, depend on many of the study’s assumptions also coming true.

Nevertheless, it’s not hard to see why the general health of Americans isn’t exactly headed toward a renaissance.

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Hunger hoaxes hinder food stamp reform, by James Bovard

Here’s a paradox: many of the people who receive food stamps, presumably because they are hungry and need food, are certifiably obese. From James Bovard at thehillcom:

Hunger hoaxes hinder food stamp reform

The Trump administration is pushing radical changes in the food stamp program as part of the farm bill. Reform efforts may be derailed by activists who vastly exaggerate hunger and portray food handouts as the epitome of social justice. But federal food handouts have already done far too much damage to Americans’ health.

Food stamps are now feeding 42 million people. Twitter activists created a #HandsOffSNAP hashtag to seek to block any efforts at reform. But, while politicians portray food stamps as a nutrition program (Congress changed the name to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, in 2008), they are actually a blank check to buy more calories.

Food stamps have long been a dietary disaster. Walter Willett, chair of Harvard University’s Department of Nutrition, observed, “We’ve analyzed what (food stamp) participants are eating and it’s horrible food. It’s a diet designed to produce obesity and diabetes.” A 2017 public health study found that food stamp recipients were twice as likely to be obese as eligible non-recipients. Similarly, a 2015 USDA report revealed that food stamp recipients are more likely to be obese than eligible non-recipients (40 percent vs. 32 percent).

Food stamps are a perpetual bailout for the junk food industry. A 2016 USDA report revealed that soft drinks are the most common commodity purchased in food stamp households. Together, “sweetened beverages, desserts, salty snacks, candy and sugar” account for 20 percent of food stamp expenditures. Food stamp recipients consume twice as many of their daily calories from sugar-sweetened beverages as do higher incomes groups (12 percent vs. 6 percent), according to a 2015 study in Preventive Medicine.

A federal program designed simply to boost calorie consumption makes no sense at a time when obesity is rampant. Forty-four percent of low-income women are obese; the rate is even higher for black (56 percent) and Hispanic (49 percent).

Food stamps are justified to prevent hunger but the federal government does not even attempt to collect data on how many Americans actually go hungry.  The National Academy of Sciences urged USDA to create a hunger gauge in 2006 but the agency has done nothing on that score. Instead, USDA conducts annual surveys measuring a vaporous notion of “food security” — which can simply mean uncertainty about being able to afford groceries in the future or not being able to afford the organic food one prefers. Though USDA stresses that the survey is not a measure of hunger, its results (and those of similar surveys) are perennially twisted to maximize teeth-gnashing.

To continue reading: Hunger hoaxes hinder food stamp reform

American Adults Have Never Been Fatter, by Tyler Durden

America’s obesity epidemic has to be some sort of marker of the nation’s character. All kinds of excuses can be made, but many Americans suffer from a complete lack of self-control. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

40% of American adults are obese, a sharp increase from a decade earlier and a record high. according to federal health officials.

A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) sampling of 27,449 adults with a BMI between 30 and 40 found that among those aged 20 years and older, obesity went from 33.7% in 2007-2008 to 39.6% in 2015-2016. Severe obesity – those with a BMI above 40, jumped from 5.7% to 7.7% over the same period.

The increase in obesity among the 16,875 youth sampled was much lower, going from 16.8% a decade ago to 18.5% in 2015-2016. Still pretty bad.

For reference, this kid was considered fat in 1985… 

National trends

The CDC has prepared handy list of statistics as well as maps of average obesity by state, as well as by race. In a nutshell, the south is a hotbed of obesity.

Of note:

  • Obesity decreased by level of education. Adults without a high school degree or equivalent  had the highest self-reported obesity 
  • Young adults were half as likely to have obesity as middle-aged adults.

Obesity Prevalence in 2016 Varies Across States and Territories

  • All states had more than 20% of adults with obesity.
  • 35% or more adults had obesity in 5 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia).
  • The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (32.0%), followed by the Midwest (31.4%), the Northeast (26.9%), and the West (26.0%).

To continue reading: American Adults Have Never Been Fatter

How Obamacare Fuels The Obesity Epidemic, by Duane Norman

Reward the obese with lower insurance rates that are subsidized by the healthy, and surprise, surprise you get more obesity and less good health. From Duane Norman at fmshooter.com:

Recently, the CDC announced that America has made a new high; not in the stock market, but in obesity rates:

A troubling new report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that almost 40 percent of American adults and nearly 20 percent of adolescents are obese — the highest rates ever recorded for the U.S.

Many contributing factors have been blamed for causing and/or fueling the obesity epidemic, including, but not limited to: overeating, poor diet, physical inactivity, prescription medications, all the crap that is on grocery store shelves, toxic chemicals, diseases, and just plain old genetics.  But while Obamacare certainly can’t be blamed for America’s ever-increasing obesity, the law has added fuel to the fire, and in a manner that has gone unnoticed by most Americans.

First, it is important to understand exactly what part of Obamacare has changed the health insurance equation; the requirement that individuals cannot be screened for pre-existing conditions or denied coverage on that basis.  While it sounds like a “fair” and equitable idea to force insurers to cover the riskiest patients who need coverage the most, its method of implementation has certainly left “healthy” individuals with far higher premiums relative to their unhealthy counterparts.

I signed up for an individual health insurance plan in 2011, after Obamacare was enacted, but prior to its implementation.  The plan complied with all ACA requirements, but insurers could still “screen” me using their existing process.  I was asked a slew of questions; my age, gender, health history, and questions about my personal habits, including, but not limited to; gender, smoking status, alcohol consumption, exercise habits, risky hobbies (i.e. skydiving), and basically any other question you could imagine an insurer would use to quantify what my premiums should be.

After the ACA, the only questions an insurer can ask about a prospective patient are: age and smoking status.  I was previously under the impression that under the ACA, insurers could charge higher premiums to women, as they use health services far more frequently than men, but “gender rating” is actually illegal under the ACA. 

To continue reading: How Obamacare Fuels The Obesity Epidemic

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