New Gallup Poll: Americans view obesity as a serious societal issue
This Post has No Comments
Since 2003, Gallup has asked Americans three times to gauge their views on obesity, cigarettes, and alcohol. In Gallup’s most recent poll, most Americans (81%) say obesity is an “extremely” or “very serious” problem to society. This represents a sharp increase from 56% when Gallup first asked Americans about their perceptions on obesity in 2003, and the 81% dramatically out-paces cigarettes and alcohol as health concerns.
The concern over obesity in America is not a new concern. Various heath care studies over the past decade have indicated a sharp increase in obesity and the impacts on health, the increase in chronic health issues due to obesity, and the impact obesity has on overall health care costs. In a 2011 study, United Healthcare indicated that 50% of healthcare costs are driven by participant behaviors: life style choices and/or lack of education healthcare services.
The major carriers, and the brokers that represent them, have recognized this growing trend and have implemented wellness programs for their groups and individuals to improve the health of participants through education and strategies that motivate behavioral change and reduce healthcare costs.
With Healthcare Reform, the issue of obesity has now become a political discussion in terms of how to tackle this growing trend. The discussion now reflects differences along the Republican-Democratic divide on the role of the government in healthcare. Republicans tend to want the government’s role to be smaller, while Democrats lean more toward the government playing a larger role in determining how Americans live their lives.
Regardless of the political rhetoric on the health of Americans, education on the drivers of healthcare costs and individual responsibility will be key contributors to improving the health of our nation and reducing the burden of healthcare costs on all.
(Photo by GALLUP.com)
DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, and based on particular situations, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice, financial advice and/or the advice of a licensed insurance or certified human resource professional.
© Connelly, Carlisle, Fields & Nichols 2012