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Physician Heal Thyself

We have a new nominee for Surgeon General.  Her photos have now been flashed across the screens of cable TV and elsewhere.   The job of Surgeon General isn’t to actually be out there treating patients on a daily basis but to serve as an advisory for the general health policies of the nation.   Their role is to lead those efforts against diseases and conditions that affect the general health of the nation.  They also project an “image” of our nation to the world as the spokesperson for all of us on those issues.   They should serve as a role model in some form.  Those role models are not the be all and end all but they have a significant place in a modern society founded on communications.  Words and pictures communicate all kinds of messges.

Be honest, when you saw those pictures of the new nominee what was your immediate reaction?  Mine sure wasn’t of someone who is the picture of health.  That lady must be at least 75 pounds overweight.  Merely standing there without saying a word she sends the wrong message to everyone.  She is a professional and knows more than I do about the dangers of being overweight yet she carries around lots of extra heft.  Her mere presence says to the young people it is ok to be way overweight, you can still become an important person.  She is the poster child for saying that weight doesn’t matter and that it is ok to be like that and have a much higher chance of developing those debilitating diseases and conditions and others will pay all your expenses.  I think she is a terrible choice.  She is a living negative about everything wrong with modern health issues and self control and taking responsibility for your own life and well-being.  The Surgeon General doesn’t need to look like an Olympic champion but they sure shouldn’t look like that lady that sings at the end of the opera.

We have been advised in recent years repeatedly that obesity is the major cause of at least four of our deadliest and costliest medical issues: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.  Those by far consume the bulk of our national health care cost.  If you reduce obesity you dramatically would reduce the incidences of those four medical conditions and the attendant treatments, medicines and hospitalizations associated with them.  We know and our common sense tells us that obesity is self imposed.   I realize that they are few medical conditions that can cause obesity but those are quite rare.  The overwhelming majority of obesity is caused by over eating.  In spite of those hundreds or thousands of diet books on the shelves at the book store and promoted on TV or radio, the issue of weight is really very simple.  It is chemistry and physics.  It is gross calories in and gross calories out.  If you consume more calories than your body uses each day then for sure you will gain weight.  That isn’t opinion but science, facts, physics and the laws of chemistry at work.  If you are taking in on average 2900 calories a day and your body’s metabolic rates and the additional exertions you make on your body are burning up on average 2000 calories a day then, yes, you will become obese at some point.   The simple solution is to stop eating so much and/or ramp up your burning of calories.   When you burn more than you consume the weight will drop.  There is nothing magic about any of that.

Why are so many of us having to pay for the self indulgence of so many others?   I know you can make the argument that if you don’t even have a car why should your tax money be spent on the highways.  But I think this issue is very different because it is a problem that is self induced and then the problem has to be paid for by others.  I think that is a quite a different kettle of fish.  My behavoir shouldn’t cost you money and likewise I don’t want to pay for your bad mistakes and choices.  When folks choose to indulge in harmful behavoir that is their right and freedom but I shouldn’t have to bear the risk attendant to that behavoir.   As those politicians ramble about health care costs I hope they will consider both incentives and downsides for those who wish to lead risky life styles.  I have enough government on my back already to carry and I don’t need a bunch of overweight folks with high blood pressure expecting me to pay for their medication.  Lose weight.  That doesn’t require any medicine or diet pills or frankly any expense.  Just eat less.

I guess before they appoint a health czar they might want to check into how that is working for Rattner.  The car czar is gone.  He came in to do Goverjnment, Inc’s dirty work and did fire lots of people at GM, hand picked new board members, ignored all shareholder rights, and strong armed the creditors into submission.  Submission is the right word. Those weren’t bargaining sessions, they were platforms to deliver threats.  After all Mr. Rattner represented the creditor,  new shareholder, regulator, labor negotiator, banker and car designer extraordinaire.   It seems he forgot some of that “luggage” from his past in his hurry to feel the rush of pure power.  I predict he will lay really low.  Let’s see if the investigation goes anywhere into his company’s dealings.  It won’t unless it is so obvious that it can’t be swept under a really big rug.

Bulgaria is the latest European nation to join the list of those that are leaning to the “right” as the US runs downhill to the left.  Those progressive folks across the P0nd are trying to send us a message but Reid, Pelosi and that guy don’t  read their mail from over there.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com


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