Obesity, Health Systems, and Individual Pubic Health

Obesity rates are climbing. Its impact is worsening. The issue is quite troubling.

Americans’ eating habits have much to do with obesity. Our sedentary lifestyle (little walking, avoidance of stairs, no exercise) is also a big factor.

But there is lots to discover within these two major factors. That information will help us target preventive/health care for addressing the obesity issue.

Freakonomics reports a study which “found that neighborhoods with dramatically more fast-food restaurants and convenience stores than supermarkets also have significantly elevated rates of obesity and diabetes.”

A program in Philadelphia is targeting this problem.

We know that our environment and lifestyles have a major impact on our health, even more so than medical care.

Obesity, and its ramifications, will be the largest health issue we deal with in the very near future. The role of the health system needs to become more community collaborative as our society becomes focused on “health.” Fighting obesity is very much a public health issue—and is encouraging a move toward preventive medicine. The health system’s role could be transformed by becoming part public health agency, part individual medical care deliverer. Call it individual public health. The larger the role a health system plays in a person’s health, the more sustainable these organizations will be.

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