Vail Daily letter: Spiraling out of control |

Vail Daily letter: Spiraling out of control

Very much like a dog chasing its own tail, efforts by the states and federal government to curtail the out-of-control costs of healthcare delivery have to date proven to be just as futile and ineffective. Witness the unfolding train wreck entitled “The Affordable Care Act.”

In the United States today, the lack of regular exercise and an unhealthy diet have contributed to the overall population being among the least healthy in the nation’s history. The statistics are rather grim — 80 percent of the population does not get the minimum amount of regular exercise required to stay healthy, and the nation is hooked on an unhealthy diet of high-caloric fast food.

As a consequence, 35 percent of adults are overweight, and 11 percent are obese. If this trend continues, within a decade or so 50 percent of the population will be overweight or obese; and unless there is a sea change in thinking, the resulting associated costs to treat higher incidences of diabetes, heart attack, strokes, various cancers, attention deficit disorders, sleep apnea and other serious health issues are simply unaffordable.

The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an imbalance between the amount of calories ingested compared to the amount of calories consumed. Excess calories turn into fat with very serious consequences.

The best way to address this seemingly intractable problem is through education. For example, back in the 1950s, over 50 percent of adults smoked. Today that percentage has shrunk to less than 20 percent primarily due to effective education such as “The Marlboro Man” adds that revealed the horrors associated with smoking and persuaded many people to stop smoking and many others not to take up the habit.

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If society is to ever get a handle on runaway healthcare costs, the best marketing and advertising talent available must be retained to design a campaign that rivals “The Marlboro Man” and is designed to promote the many benefits of regular exercise and the importance of eating a healthy diet.

Unless the majority of the population is persuaded, through various means, to take responsibility for their own actions when it comes to health, the cost of healthcare delivery will continue to spiral out of control until one day it will simply collapse of its own weight.

Peter Bergh


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