Oh How I Love My Potato Chips

How many years now have you made that New Year’s resolution to get in shape? Every December 31st you tell yourself “this year is the year I’m actually going to follow through with my promise to eat better, get more exercise, lose those extra pounds around the middle.” How many times do you fail to follow through with your resolution? You are not alone. I’ve failed at the same resolution myself. And millions of other Americans go through this same ritual year after year after year. So when are you finally going to do something about it?

Two of the biggest health concerns that we are bombarded with on a daily basis are smoking and obesity. Our children are suffering from obesity at an alarming rate. And, more and more young people are picking up the smoking habit. “The latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stats show more than a third of U.S. adults (nearly 36%) are obese. And in 2008, according to the CDC, obesity-related medical costs hovered around $147 billion; in fact, typical medical expenses for obese people were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.”

So what happens when you combine these two health concerns? A very deadly and costly combination of events. “The CDC reports that 27.1% of adults aged 50-64 are sedentary, defined as not doing any physical activity outside of work for 30 days.” And THAT’S just the older generation. Can you imagine the percentages if we included the 20-, 30-, and 40-something year olds who are obese, smoke and lead a sedentary lifestyle? Now THAT is a scary thought indeed!

Ok…so here is some potentially good news. One part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) provides preventive care and health assistance. Doctors and nurses aren’t there for you just when you are sick or injured. They provide a much needed service to help you stay healthy in the first place.

Under the ACA, depending on your age, you may have access (at no cost) to preventive services such as:
• Vaccines that protect you from diseases and other health problems
• Medical tests that check for diseases early when they may be easier to treat
• Education and counseling to help you make healthy decisions including quitting smoking, losing weight, healthy eating, treating depression, and reducing substance dependency (drugs, alcohol).

Every little bit of maintaining your good health or improving your health will help you over the long run. Did you know that losing 10% of your body weight drops your risk of heart disease? Walking can help strengthen muscles and joints. Using weights, even light-weight ones, can help in bone density. Remember though, before starting any exercise program or change in diet talk to your healthcare provider to ensure that you don’t have an underlying problem that will prevent you from finally succeeding in your goal….hence the preventive services mentioned above.

So, with the new accessible health insurance options coming soon (October 2013) don’t you owe it to yourself and your family to start sticking to that New Year’s resolution? And what’s even better…you don’t have to go down that road alone.

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