Friday, 31 July 2009

(no subject)

Friday, 31 July 2009 07:55
earthbelow: (Default)
Dear Nightly News and The CDC,

You fail at responsible journalism and health statistics, respectively. I watched ABC Nightly News' report on "The Cost of Obesity", in which they stated that "obesity related health care" costs on the order of over a $140 billion dollars a year.

This is for the fail, and let me tell you why.


1. The CDC does not actually know which diseases are obesity-related and which are not. What they are really calculating is the cost of healthcare for obese people, and since 2/3rds of the American population classify as "overweight" or "obese" under their guidelines, they are calculating that it took $140 billion to care for 2/3rds of the population.

2. They assume that every disease an obese person gets is related to their obesity. This is patently untrue. I am not denying that there are conditions which are affected by weight. There certainly are. But there are also a lot of conditions, many of which get counted under the obesity umbrella, that medically aren't tied into a person's weight. There are also conditions caused by other factors. Smoking, for instance. If someone is obese and a smoker and has high blood pressure and cardiac problems, counting both of those strictly as "obesity-related" is stupid. There's no way to know whether it's because of the obesity or because of the six packs of Marlboros a day.

3. I don't see the CDC studying the diseases that thin people do or do not get. Is the rate of heart failure, high blood pressure, and diabetes really that much lower in the "thin" population? Because studies are not being done on thin people, only fat people. I would wager that it is not actually all that much lower, but that thin people are given access to treatments and proper medical attention that fat people are not, thus their conditions do not become chronic. Whereas a fat person with the same complaint may only be told to "go hit the treadmill, fatty" instead of being given medical treatment.

4. This report does nothing useful to help people better understand healthcare, their bodies, or obesity. Yes, the healthcare costs are high, but much of that does not actually even go towards patient treatment. Spending does not equal treatment. A lot of that money eaten up by other non-medical factors. Nor do they factor in that a lot of obese people aren't getting any medical treatment, either because they don't have access to it, or they don't get it from their doctors. I don't think that the one time I managed to get in to see a doctor who sat me down and told me how fat I was for an hour should count towards that total. Especially when the cost of that visit wasn't in treating me, it was in paying the doctor for his oh-so-unhelpful lecture. I never actually received any treatment.

5. This report does not specify who counts as obese, or as "people". Is healthcare spending on children included, because we do spend more on children's healthcare. Not due to obesity, but because people actually seem to care whether a child can see a doctor. Never mind if the parents can, or childless adults can. As long as the children can. See above: SPENDING DOES NOT EQUAL TREATMENT GIVEN.

6. This report does not specify what counts as a healthcare cost. Is it just the cost of prescriptions, treatment's, and doctor's visits or are you including the salaries of doctors and nurses as well as the cost of running hospitals. I don't think obese people should be held responsible because doctors are demanding to be paid more, have to raise prices because of malpractice insurance, and pharmaceuticals are expensive. That hikes up the cost of everyone's healthcare, and isn't caused by anyone weight. Fat people aren't making the cost of malpractice insurance rise, I promise you.

7. The cost of healthcare for thin people was never mentioned. Funny how that works. Maybe because the number isn't that much lower?

8. This report does not state who is doing this spending. Because much of that number comes from the out-of-pocket costs that fat people themselves are paying because of a lousy healthcare system that treats them as subhuman.

9. The report does not state how much of this number goes into preventative care. It should. Because I think if we saw the amazingly low amount being spent on preventing diseases through regular doctor's visits and affordable healthcare, people might not be inclined to feel that "the fatties are bringing down the healthcare system".

10. The report was inflammatory without being informative. The inclusion of "headless fatties" and mention of the number in the "struggling healthcare system" can only be meant to encourage prejudice against fat people rather than responsibly disseminate information.


In conclusion, you suck. You just added to all the prejudice, hatred, and mistreatment that fat people are getting in this country. And for what? For nothing. For a lousy two minute fluff piece.

Thanks for making things worse than they were, ABC News and the CDC. You two stay class.


No Love,
Meg

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