Who can forget the moment they learned that the mother pregnant with octuplets was single and had six more kids at home, all very young?
Or the moment when they learned that despite years of passionate and thoughtful education about mammograms, a federal panel was now recommending that women get them later, and less often?
We hadn’t really seen anything like the H1N1 swine flu warnings and worries in a long, long time. Experts compared the pandemic flu to the 1918 flu, which killed thousands and thousands who had no immunity. This flu, which jumped to humans from pigs, most affected children and pregnant women, unlike regular seasonal flus.
Those are three of the four of USA Today’s top four health stories of 2009. The fourth? It is neither new nor novel. It will not surprise you. We have been down this road before. Arguably, it could be the most important health story of the entire decade.
Obesity. We are killing ourselves, people. We are paying for it physically and financially.
From the USA Today year in review story:
“Several studies released this year examined the heavy toll obesity takes on people's health. One showed that 100,500 new cases of cancer were caused by obesity every year. The American Institute for Cancer Research found that the cancers most strongly linked to excess body fat include breast, endometrial, kidney, colorectal, pancreas, esophageal and gallbladder.
“Meanwhile, two other studies showed that obesity was taking a hefty toll on the U.S. health care system because it increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other health problems.
“Americans who are 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight cost the country an estimated $147 billion in weight-related medical bills in 2008, double the amount a decade ago, said a study released in July by government scientists and the non-profit research group RTI International. Obesity now accounts for 9.1% of all medical spending, up from 6.5% in 1998.”
The CDC has an entire portion of its website devoted to obesity and its related health problems.