Thursday, March 15, 2007

You Are What You Eat And How It Affects Your Health Insurance

by Melih Oztalay


Growing waistlines equal growing healthcare costs. At least that's how it seems regarding health and health insurance. A famous documentary has already shown the short-term impact of too many super-sized meals. But did you know that there's another price you're paying now - in health insurance dollars - for our nation's weight problem?

Health insurance rates have been rising, with double-digit increases in each of the past three years. Most analysts blame these rising costs on an increased use of medical services. Are we just a nation of hypochondriacs? Why are we visiting doctor's offices in droves? As many experts are pointing out, part of the answer may be obesity.

More than 60 percent of Americans presently qualify as overweight or obese. Even among children, obesity rates have tripled over the past decade. Obesity is known to considerably raise your risk of orthopedic problems, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, and respiratory problems. The Surgeon General's office estimates that obesity costs the economy more than $100 billion a year.

Insurance companies understand that obesity is costly. If you're an obese person trying to get health coverage, you may be turned down due to the risks associated with your weight. If you're not turned down, you'll probably pay more for coverage, up to twice as much as a slimmer person. And even though you can't be turned down for employer-sponsored health insurance based on obesity, the increased cost of insuring you becomes a financial burden not only for you, but also for your coworkers.

Now this doesn't mean that skinny people should blame heavier people for the annual insurance rate hikes that everyone dreads. There are other factors involved, like the increased use of prescription drugs and costly new medical technologies. But if the majority of Americans is obese and it's substantially more expensive to insure an obese person, you can begin to see how big a role an expanding waistline may play in expanding health insurance costs.

So, what can we all do about this waistline epidemic? In the United States alone, obesity is expected to overtake smoking as the number-one cause of preventable death. Through a combination of government action and an aggressive public persuasion campaign, smoking is on the decline. These tactics can also be used in the battle on obesity.

Or perhaps we need to make the connection between obesity and health insurance costs more apparent to encourage our government and public health organizations to help in the battle of the bulge. Maybe that will encourage health insurance companies to expand coverage for weight-loss programs and procedures. Most importantly, perhaps if we feel the impact of obesity in our pocketbooks, we'll take our health more seriously.

If you've never considered the ramifications of what you eat, maybe you should. It may not seem like it will affect your health now, but it certainly will in the long run. And as you'll discover, what affects your health also will eventually affect your bank account.


About the Author
Melih ("may-lee") Oztalay, CEO SmartFinds Internet Marketing Web: www.precedent.com EMail: melih@hsfideas.com Precedent - Health Insurance For The Rest Of Us

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Is Obesity Just as Bad as Smoking or Drinking?

by Mila Spivak


It is not uncommon these days to see various news channels and TV programs discussing obesity as a major health risk in the developed countries. You may ask yourself, what is the hype about? Why all over sudden we have started to dedicate so much of our time to talking about obesity? In summary, the hype has its routes in two different revelations about obesity.

On the one head, there is the major increase in the number of people who are now clinically classed as obese. In the United States for example, more that 30% of its total population aged 15 and over are classed as obese with BMI >30 - this is almost 1 in 3 Americans! United States is closely followed by Mexico and United Kingdom where almost 1 in 5 adults have BMI >30. The importance of these figures lies in the fact that these levels of obesity are only a recent phenomenon. From 1980 to 2002, America has seen obesity doubling in adults, whilst overweight prevalence has tripled in children and adolescents (source).

The second revelation about obesity is its implications on health. People who are severely overweight have a much higher risk in developing obesity related diseases such as heart attack, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, to name just a few. According to a new government study from Britain, obesity is now considered more dangerous to health than smoking or drinking. In America, public health research has discovered that for every 100 obese men and women, there are 50 extra chronic diseases compared to around 20 extra diseases among smokers, nearly 60 among people living in poverty, and a similar number for drinkers (source).

So what could be the reason for this major rise in obesity over the recent years? Many attribute it to overeating, sedentary lifestyles, and not enough activity. In the majority of cases obesity is self inflicted and could be helped by undergoing a weight management program. One way to help obese people loose weight faster in conjunction with a low-calorie diet and exercise is to take Meridia. Also known as Sibutramine or Reductil, Meridia works on the part of the brain that controls appetite. The active ingredient in sibutramine helps create a signal to the brain that results in a sense of fullness. It is important to note that Meridia does not suppress appetite, which is a signal to start eating. Instead, Meridia helps weight loss by influencing the brain to feel a sense of fullness which is a signal to stop eating. This fullness signal means one may feel satisfied with less food. Numerous studies conducted on Meridia show that along with a healthy reduced-calorie diet and exercise, Meridia helps patients lose weight and maintain weight loss for up to two years (source).

For more information about Meridia, how and when it should be taken, where to buy Meridia as well as a collection of useful information about dieting, healthy living and exercise visit Meridia Weight Loss.


About the Author
Mila Spivak writes various articles on healthy eating, exercise and dieting solutions including Meridia. Most of her articles are featured on Meridia Weight Loss website.

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Friday, March 2, 2007

Major Reasons For Childhood Obesity

by Dan Dailey


There's considerable hype in the news about the incidence of childhood obesity and the risks. As usual, scare stories abound with calls for government intervention and/or large-scale social changes. But apart from the over-the-top reactions, there are some basic facts that remain.

With the increase in the availability and lower cost of food in Western countries, all but the poorest individuals are at no risk of starving.

At the same time, convenience foods, fast food establishments and snacks everywhere have made it all the more likely that many will consume too many calories.

At the same time, with the popularity of computer and Internet activities, children (and teens) spend a larger percentage of time being sedentary than in decades past.

TV watching and talking on the phone, of course, have been popular for decades. But with the addition of the Internet, hours of physical activity per week has declined for many.

The result is that children today are on average heavier than they were a few decades ago.

They also tend to consume more foods high in complex sugars and fat, and less fiber, fruits and vegetables. The net effect is, for some, obesity.

Obesity is measured somewhat differently for children than for adults, as a result of their rapidly changing bodies and metabolic rates that differ.

Children often experience growth spurts that would skew any measurement that used BMI (Body Mass Index) primarily. Instead of using BMI alone as a starting point, BMI is combined with age and gender to create a more accurate picture.

Where an adult would be considered (borderline) obese with a BMI of 30 or greater, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) charts would designate a child as obese at the 95th percentile.

The two are roughly equivalent, but it's necessary to look at the charts for a more careful breakdown.

Percentage of body fat is another important measurement and here again the numbers differ by sex. An obese boy would be identified as one whose body fat was 25% or more of total body weight.

For girls the number is 32% of body fat as a percentage of total weight.

One major reason for the difference is simply that females naturally have a higher percentage of body fat their entire lives. For adult males the number is roughly 15% for a healthy, fit individual. But for women the number is around 27%.

As with adults, the way to reduce body fat and excess weight involves the twin partners of proper diet and regular exercise.

This will usually involve some lifestyle changes. These are often easier to implement for younger children, and have the added advantage of establishing good habits that typically carry on into the teen years and beyond.

Start on the road to good health young and it will be easier to maintain into adulthood.


About the Author
Ydiets.com is an excellent place to find weight loss and diet resource, links and articles. For more information visit: www.ydiets.com

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