Saturday, April 25, 2020

Eradicating the real pandemic

A recent news article had an eye-catching headline of Nearly All Patients Hospitalized With Covid-19 Had Chronic Health Issues, Study Finds.  I was curious so decided to read more.

The next sentence in the article stated that “Only 6 percent of patients at one New York area health system had no chronic conditions.  Hypertension, obesity and diabetes were common.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. It’s a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.

According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief, the prevalence of obesity in America was 42.4 percent in 2017-2018.  Furthermore, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5 percent to 42.4 percent in a short 8-year time period ending in 2018.

This suggests that the real American pandemic is obesity.

How many Coronavirus deaths could have been avoided if Americans weren’t obese?

While some have attempted to define obesity as a disease, the prevalent conclusion is that it’s not; therefore, it’s preventable.  

Maybe America should concentrate on eradicating obesity much like it’s doing with Coronavirus.  If obesity is eliminated or substantially reduced, then there should be corresponding decreases in hypertension and diabetes.  

And, since obesity, hypertension and diabetes appear to be the common chronic conditions prevalent in Coronavirus hospital patients (i.e., those more likely to die), it seems logical reducing obesity will reduce Coronavirus-related deaths, and deaths from whatever happens to be the next great pandemic.  

Why don’t we use the same approaches in ridding American obesity that are being done with the Coronavirus?  You know, like shelter in place and practicing safe social distancing, closing businesses and controlling what people can do and where they can go.  Maybe it’ll work.

Imagine a national obesity-related shelter in place public health directive and mandate preventing all Americans from eating excessively?  Yes, all Americans and not just those suffering from obesity because the ones who aren’t would be at risk from possibly eating excessively by being in close community eating contact with those who are obese.  

Of course, there would have to be exceptions for those people considered “minimum essential” during this obesity pandemic shelter in place.  They would be free to eat whatever they want.  Government officials, law enforcement officers, health care professionals and a few others would be classified as minimum essential, similar the current minimum essential crowd coexisting during the current Coronavirus shelter in place mandates across America.

These lucky folks would be able to eat all they want at buffets and doughnut shops remaining open just for them.  But for everyone else, obese people and others, these places would be off limits; anyone caught there and violating this public health mandate would be subject to fines or jail time.  Violating the mandate would be a misdemeanor appearing in published public crime records and reports.

Safe social distancing would be required for everyone except the minimum essential elite.  Everyone would have to keep at least six feet away from an excessive serving size plate of food and no exceptions would be allowed.

And to protect everyone, a face mask would have to be worn with a small opening at the mouth.  You could only eat food when wearing this mask.   This would help protect against eating more food than permissible by the national public health directive and mandate.

There would likely be other mandates that our government public health officials, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the CDC would dictate in their valiant efforts to eradicate our American obesity pandemic.

Such as businesses not being open and people being unable to resume a normal lifestyle until there was a measured remarkable decrease in American obesity.  It wouldn't matter if our American economy takes a nosedive crash resulting in rampant unemployment and substantial financial strife for most people.   The government would just approve a multi-trillion dollar relief package to hold everyone over until the obesity pandemic dust settled.

After all, it's just money, digitized and printed by the stroke of key on a computer keypad from some financial ivory tower where these money supply shenanigans take place.

The notion that this might drive some people to depression and even suicide would be nothing more than an afterthought in the minds of government public health officials.  After all, preventing deaths of obese people is all that matters, and not overloading the elevators of hospitals from transporting obese people to and from hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units located on different floors.

Before the shelter in place and other mandates could be lifted, there would have to be widespread testing to prove a flattening of the obesity curve is taking place.  People would have to submit to waist circumference measurements and being weighed so that their Body Mass Index (BMI) could be calculated.  

Public health officials would record these measures and there would be several websites you could visit to determine how the hot spots in the country were doing during the obesity pandemic. 

There would be daily press conferences by our elected officials, and there’d be no shortage of social media activity such as the Twitter crowd critics constantly bombarding and criticizing what our President is doing and failing to do during this obesity pandemic.

None of this would matter because it would only matter that we eradicate American obesity.

And, unfortunately, non-obese healthy Americans would have to go along for the ride.

Makes me think about what’s going on with this current Coronavirus pandemic that perhaps we shouldn’t put the cart before the horse and instead be focusing on and eradicating the real pandemic.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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