Sunday, September 30, 2007

Teenage Waist Land: Society's unHealthy Conflicts of Interest

Business, government & society have an unHealthy conflict of interests.

People want better health, safer food, better and Honest nutrition labeling, and better health care. Government wants less health care costs, the tax dollars from the food industries, plus, employed citizens in the food and restaurant industry. Food businesses want your money, every legal way there is to get it, no matter what the consequences to the individual and to the health care system. Government do not want to be seen to be as anti-business by promoting too many public service health announcements that nullify the happy messages from fast food chains - those that tell you to treat your gullet to harmful food pollutants.

A smattering of healthy eating commercials is really lip service, as the population bulges wider and wider. The problem is getting worse as more teens are broadening their horizontals. The teenage obesity rates are through the walls, and very high in Newfoundland and Labrador. The chances of much avoidable health care costs are widening as there becomes a greater risk for teens to get type 2 diabetes, heart and circulatory problems, and various forms of cancers.

Recent serious mistakes in radiology reporting is an area to analyze. What went wrong, where does the problem lie? There are dangerous staff shortages at the emergency room at the HSC. With $billions put into healthcare many doctors are still over worked. With an aging population of over 65ers increasing more each year, the stresses of the healthcare system looks like it will heave and swell.

Sickness and conditions will always be. Some just happen despite an individual's best health efforts. Many other problems chances of happening are increased by peoples' behaviour - in other words, those under our control - smoking, drinking, lifestyle, overeating harmful food, and not getting enough physical activity.

Preventative medicine can take a couple of forms. One may still cost the health system money, the other, none at all.

The first refers to people going for testing before a problem is either diagnosed or apparent at all. For example, heart exams, prostate cancer checks, blood work, blood pressure, mammograms, etc. Some argue that this doesn't save any money. If it does or doesn't, it's been known to do what's most important, save lives. The second preventative measure is where we as individual who are free to control what we do and eat, exercise discretion in what we decide to feed our nutrient-hungry body cells.

Many health problems can be avoided, and there are scattered advertisements which promote healthy eating. There could be much much more. The anti-smoking campaign was/is on fire for years. So if too much fat, trans fat, sodium, sugar, preservatives, plastic container chemicals like bisphenol-A, and additives are negatively affecting health, which all have been reported to be, then shouldn't there be more public warnings about avoiding bad foods?

It could save 100's of thousands of lives and improve peoples' quality of life. Of course, stepping up public service announcements above lip-service level will rile food businesses whose profits are based on the public's no fear attitude about clogging the human circulatory and plumbing system full of sludge.

How many $100s of millions could be saved in the health care system, which, despite Canada being a G7 nation and a multi-billion dollar surplus recipient year after year, still is ailing. Health Canada Should educate the public more on healthy eating and healthier lifestyles. If that negatively affects the sale of burgers, poutines, and curly fries, then so be it. If people avoid more of the garbage and eat more healthy, then the mystery meat kings of food can adjust their menus more.
Here is a helpful link called Teaching Nutrition to Teens.

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