As this “season of eating” descends, it brings to mind the healthcare crisis facing our great nation.   According to a study published by the Society of Actuaries entitled “Obesity and its Relation to Mortality and Morbidity Costs,” the estimated economic cost of overweight and obesity in the United States and Canada is $300 billion per year.  This is as a result of the increased need for medical care ($127 billion); loss of productivity due to excess mortality ($49 billion); loss of productivity due to absenteeism of active workers ($43 billion); and loss of productivity due to the total disability of workers ($72 billion).  The United States is responsible for ninety percent of the combined total for the United States and Canada.

Without a doubt, the United States and the American people are suffering a crisis both financially and physically.  There is public outcry for government regulation and support.   We want the government to give us medical insurance; insurance providers to give us incentives/reimbursements for taking care of ourselves (or we want them to pay our bills when we don’t); doctors to give us medicines or surgeries to fix our ailments; and we want it all done while we’re filling up on pumpkin cheesecake, sausage stuffing, and green bean casserole. At best, we’re hoping to burn a few calories by lifting the remote to flip between the Thanksgiving Day parade and the football game.

When did the state of our individual health become the responsibility of the government, the insurance companies, and the medical providers?  Considering the increasing burden of overweight and obese Americans, it’s easy to conclude that personal responsibility has been lost.

Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the center.   In one column, list all of the choices you made today that supported your good health.   In the other, list all of the choices you made today that didn’t.  Review the list.   Who made those choices?  It’s an inevitable conclusion that the power to fix our nation’s health care crisis is a matter of the personal choice and individual responsibility of each American.

In future installments, we will explore the power of choice in the creation of our health condition.   It’s the cumulative effect of our daily choices that will change the future of America’s health and its relative economic future for the better, or for the worse.

Josie Rudd
Independent, Certified Health Coach
I lost 100 pounds, and have kept it off for more than 2 years.  My goal is to help others achieve optimal health in their own lives.

NOTE: Results will vary, typical results are up to 2-5 lb. lost per week.  The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Medifast or Take Shape for Life.