03 December 2008

Of Mice and Men (and Women)

I find it odd that the U.S. focuses a ton of media attention on the percentages of overweight people in each State, pointing out time and again that states such as Mississippi, Arkansas and Lousiana bring up the rear (so to speak), drawing a cause-effect relationship between low income, poor diet heavily weighed to fast food and junk food and the health issues of being overweight.


Puerto Rico has a lower income per capita than any State. It also has one of the highest percentages of diabetes, a condition clearly linked to excess weight. And Our diet also relies heavily on fast food, junk food and high fat/high sugar meals, which lead Us back to diabetes. 

So does the U.S. media focus on this fillip of information? No. We aren't a State. We aren't counted in these statistics. Okay, but what about health costs? We share in those through Medicare and Medicaid.  There We're treated as a special case, since the expenditures and the averages are actually weighed in Our favor (more of Us qualify for the coverage and We tend to outlive Our northern neighbors by a few years.)

What does this mean? To Me it means that if the U.S. of part of A. really wanted to do something about the population's health care, it would focus more on prevention and healthier lifestyle by creating the conditions that help guide the process... and use Puerto Rico as the social laboratory.

Yea, you read that right. I'm advocating Us as lab mice.

For one, it's not like We've never been there before.

In second place, Puerto Rico's isolation (it is an Island, you know) and ambiguous status make it a perfect setting for some social engineering aimed at improving health, with no illusory "State's rights" to get in the way. (Note: NO group has a right. None. Only individuals have rights. Learn it, take it to heart and you won't be misled by demagogues.)

Third, a prevention/lifestyle experiment (for that is what it is) would not only be useful as a health-related solution, it would also save money for the U.S. of part of A. Always a good thing when you can help them pocket some cash, right?


Who am I kidding? Let the government set the lifestyle standards of a population in order to help them be healthier? The government? That's like asking a tremulous wino to fix your pacemaker. We don't need more government intrusion in Our lives.  

Then again...

Isn't the government largely responsible for the conditions We do have, that lead to low incomes, that encourages the proliferation of fast food and junk food and opts to leave out some 45 million in the U.S. and Puerto Rico from the coverage needed to treat the health issues emerging from the setting? True, it is individual choice, but when survival is at stake, as any person in poverty or near-poverty will attest, individual choices are also a luxury.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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