Every time I get around to sending out the THCB READER I add a short & usually not to sweet commentary on some aspect of health care.–Matthew Holt
I saw the obesity crisis up close this week. And by that I’m not just referring to my addiction to Salted Caramel with Pretzel Ice Cream, bad though it is. Instead I felt thin because I went to Disneyland. But while I tip the scales at a BMI of 30 if I’m lucky, I genuinely felt that looking around Disneyland more than 50% of the crowd were obese and many morbidly so.
The rest of my trip to Southern California was quite a contrast because I’ve been watching a girls water polo tournament. Those young women and most of their families, as you’d expect, look very different. In this crowd I am definitely on the other end of the spectrum.
Obviously there’s a big socio-economic difference between the Disneyland attendees and a crowd centered around a sport largely played by rich, white kids. But at a time where we are arguing about whether Ozempic and its fellow anti-obesity drugs should be available via insurance, we seem to have no other strategies to fight the nation’s slide to obesity.
You’ve probably seen those photos of people on the beach in the 1960s where everyone is thin. I won’t claim to understand the science of what happened but clearly the prevalence of high fructose corn syrup and other highly processed food has much to do with it. As does the free rein food companies have had to advertise what are addictive products. I don’t know how we get to be a nation where everyone eats and exercises like a water polo player. But clearly we need significant changes in our agriculture and nutrition policies. We did it with smoking, so we know it can be done. If you don’t think we need it, I recommend a trip to Disneyland (and that’s the only reason I recommend one!)