Mixed Health Messages

Health issues can be quite complex and hard to decipher. I present 3 examples that illustrate  how that is true. About 2 weeks ago the President nominated Dr Regina Benjamin to be the next  Surgeon General, our nation’s top doc and #1 health care advocate. Dr Benjamin practices on the Gulf Coast  of Alabama and has had very noteworthy medical career. She  has focused her practice on those who number among the under served. Her clinic has had to overcome the wrath of Katrina as well as a devastating fire. She has received a number of honors, all seemingly well deserved.

In her personal life, she has lost a number of family members to disease, such as diabetes, lung cancer(due to smoking)  and HIV related illness. She says that she would want to focus and wellness and prevention plans to keep people from dying of preventable diseases.

Ok, now for the mixture angle. Dr Thomas Frieden is head of the CDC. He apparently considers obesity as a preventable disease, but not by individuals themselves.  He alluded to the 26% obesity rate in our country and has this quote”Reversing obesity is not going to be done successfully with individual effort,” it will be done successfully as a society( translation -government). CDC researchers also said that spending on obesity-related diaeases  takes up 10% of health care spending.

Number 3 comes from the left coast, courtesy of the LATimes. The article is titles Tough Love for Fat  people, Tax Their Food to pay for healthcare.Don’t laugh just yet. The Urban Institute has a report that suggests using strategies that  were employed in the tobacco wars against fatty foods. Simplified, tax those chips, cookies , sodas, candies etc. What a government gold mine , all to be used for healthcare of course. They say that a 10% tax on theses evil foods along with new labeling identifying the healthier foods  would work wonders. Now whose work do they site? The Surgeon General who reported on the dangers of smoking way back in 1964 (this report was key in getting my dad to quit smoking)  and  continued to raise the bar .

Ok, do we have any connections?  Our Dr Benjamin is herself an overweight person. Some have already raised  this issue, both  as a  factor in  her favor-different perspective, knows the issues etc- and as a negative- how can she advocate against weight related issues if  she is struggling with them. A conundrum, we have, as Yoda might say.

Personally, I have always had a bit of difficulty with physicians who seemed of the mindset- take my advice, but I don’t . Could our Dr Benjamin fall in  that category, perhaps. Would she be wont to push aggressive measures that target what one eats and seeks actually to influence or control ones behaviour in that area? It will be interesting to watch. Too bad, one can only stock up so much Mello Yello ahead of time.


July 28, 2009 - Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. It is a conundrum, but I have to compliment you: it’s been a loooooooong time since I saw anybody use the word “wont” and use it properly! Nice job!

    Comment by larrys | July 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. Its being reported by an international cancer research group that TANNING BEDS are as dangerous a threat of cancer as CIGARETTES, ARSENIC and ASBESTOS.
    As its been said in the past, government takes away a freedom and its just the start of losing all our freedom.

    Comment by goodtimepolitics | July 29, 2009 | Reply

  3. I’m sorry, but how does reporting that tanning beds are a cancer threat equate to the government taking away a freedom? Has the government banned tanning beds? Not that I’ve heard. I’m sure it’s not really a personal issue with you, GTP, because you just don’t strike us as a tanning bed kind of guy. But, if your report is factual, maybe you should try out a local tanning salon, for an extended basis, just to show how unafraid you are and what a freedom lover you are.


    Comment by larrys | July 29, 2009 | Reply

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