Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Surgeon General challenged for her Weight?!

Apparently, a large number of critics have come out against the president's pick for surgeon general, because she appears to be overweight. They content that in a nation of the obese, the surgeon general should be an example of excellent health.


This seems to me like insisting that the president be a great political philosopher or that the Secretary of Defense be able to beat any soldier in hand-to-hand combat. The surgeon general is supposed to be an expert on health issues, able to guide policy and advise the president effectively on health-related issues. They are NOT supposed to be the healthiest person in the land.

Here is hoping this particular issue blows over quickly, and we can get back to debating her qualifications and political positions.


CRCHAIR said...

If too many people think this way, then we will have a shortage of doctors. Once we have government run health care, they could say that a given doctor isn't setting a good example for their patients because of weight or fitness level and revoke their license if the doctor doesn't change.

Nomad said...

...and then start revoking coverage for overweight Americans, who are often those who need it most and have least ability to change because they are working multiple (though sedentary) jobs and can't afford healthy food. It is could easily institutionalize a new kind of discrimination.

"Nick" said...

Wow... okay, the second to last line in your comment is WAY off. ANYONE can afford healthy foods. But you have to know which are healthy and often they are not pre-packaged, so people shy away from them because it isn't as easy as picking up a TV dinner or going out (which is WAY more expensive, no matter where you go).

It isn't that hard to find a healthy and often cheaper alternative to most unhealthy foods that is easy to prepare. If you drink water from the tap and DON'T buy Diet Coke, you actually SAVE money. An apple is much cheaper than cookies. The list goes on. Grill a chicken breast, prepare a whole chicken or turkey (you'll have food for several days). Make a large salad so you have it for several days.

The idea that somehow people who have less money can't afford to eat well is just really wrong. If anything they should be able to eat better because many healthy foods cost less.

Aside from that... I think you make a good point. Almost any government plan will do exactly what you say. People who smoke, are overweight, have a history of any number of things (heart disease or attacks, cancer, you name it) will either have to pay MORE, or not get coverage, especially as they age.

In fact, in the current bill is a provision doing that for smokers (they'll have to pay higher premiums).

Nomad said...

Nick, You're assuming something in your reply that does not apply to my example: TIME. Everything you say is very true, but it requires time to go out and find these places, time to prepare the food, time to identify the cheapest stores for the various types, and time to shop at all of them. In my example, you have a person working multiple jobs. They need to eat QUICKLY and shop quickly, so they can get home to their families. In those cases, would they rather spend 30 seconds getting food from McDonald's or spend an hour getting healthy food and cooking it up?

I am not making this up. Several recent studies have shown that poverty and obesity are linked, because it is more expensive in time and money to eat healthy. Several other studies have shown an average healthy meal costs up to twice as much as an unhealthy and highly packaged one.

To summarize, you are right that healthy foods CAN be gotten for cheap. But you are wrong that it is an option for those who would need it most. I have some family members caught in this particular trap.

"Nick" said...

I still think it is a fallacy, the link is a VERY dubious one. Much of the problem has to do with priorities that are ordered improperly, or a dozen other things.

Most people have a wonderful ability to make time for things that are important, and if being healthy is important, they will find the time to do what is necessary. And, as I said, not much is necessary.

I think it is a great excuse to lay the blame on time and expense, but the reality is that it is just another excuse.

I'm sure there are a few cases where it is a legitimate cause, but I think those cases are very few and far between.

I'm not trying to be harsh, but I hear excuses ALL the time, and frankly they always boil down to the same thing. Are you going to take responsibilty for yourself and your health and well being, or not?

shadowmom1 said...

Cheap foods that poor people often eat are boxed macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. These are both very cheap sources of protein and can feed a family for very little. They don't get the expensive hot dogs, but the cheapest, which give the least bang for the nutritional buck and have the most fat and non-nutritional additives. Healthy alternatives to these, even though still highly caloric, are expensive. Cheap meals are full of carbs (bread). But those foods fill you up and are easy to make and make you feel good.

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