According to an interview by ABC News, if Americans continue to pack on the pounds at the rate they are now, the cost will be about $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018. Did you hear that folks? Obesity-related costs will be 21% of our total medical costs in a little less than 10 years. That’s pretty unbelievable.
These numbers are based on projections that 43% of American adults may be obese (that’s 30 or more pounds over healthy weight). All that extra weight increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancer.
Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy at Emory University puts it this way. “Obesity is going to be a leading driver in rising health-care costs. An obese person will have an average of $8,315 in medical bills a year in 2018 compared with $5,855 for an adult at a healthy weight. That’s a difference of $2,460.”
Many argue that obesity is a personal choice, something that doesn’t affect others. But what about healthcare costs? Pretty apropos numbers while the government continues to debate how to handle the healthcare crisis. People have suggested a multitude of solutions from taxing sugary/fatty/salty foods to taking away coverage from people who refuse to change their lifestyle to forcing fast food restaurants to change their menus. What do you think is the solution to the American obesity epidemic?
I am thrilled to announce that Playnormous is a 2009 Web Health Award Merit Winner for the Health Promotion, Disease and Injury Prevention Information category. We came in right behind our friends at Kognito (who have created a mental health game that I blogged about over the summer) and Healthy Dining Finder (who provide nutrition info for dietitian-approved menu choices from popular restaurants). Other merit winners in this category include Aetna, MD Anderson, National Cancer Institute, About.com health, and many more. What an honor!
I know you’re thinking “Yeah, yeah, you have a pretty new logo on your homepage. What’s the big deal?” For Playnormous and our audience this IS a big deal. The Web Health Awards is a program that recognizes the best Web-based health-related content for consumers and professionals. It is organized by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC), a national clearinghouse for consumer health information programs and materials, whose goal is to give worthy sites a “seal of quality” for electronic health information. Our entry was judged by a panel of international health information and Internet experts which looked at accuracy, success in reaching the targeted audience and overall quality. The result? An unbiased, third-party two thumbs up that Playnormous health games provide helpful, accurate information for 0-12 year olds. And you know how hard it is to find good health information on the internet.
Play our games and browse our content with confidence knowing that it’s accurate and helpful to kids and kids at heart!
Many moons ago I wrote about how to tell if a health website is credible. There is so much information floating around on the Internet that it’s difficult to tell whether non-peer reviewed medical information is accurate at all. Just Google for information on the latest health craze or your child’s ailments and you’ll see what I mean. Fortunately for us, the Medical Library Association has come up with a solution to this problem. The result? Their latest publication called A User’s Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web.
I’m proud to say that many of the sites I use and often recommend are on the MLA’s top ten most useful consumer health websites. Check ‘em out!
If you ever rode a school bus during your school days like I did, I’m sure you have some fond memories…and some horror stories too. No air conditioning, that musty smell, three kids to a seat. Little Johnny sneezing on your homework. Ah, those were the days. Well the folks at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine are trying to change some of that tradition in a very innovative way. Introducing…the walking school bus.
Instead of waiting for the traditional yellow school bus to pick you up, put on your sneakers and walk the route. Four Houston schools are utilizing the “walking school bus” method with great success. Adults lead students wearing brightly colored vests in typical two-by-two bus fashion. The program has been so successful this year that the schools plan on continuing the program in 2010. To read more about the walking school bus program, see the summer Nutrition & Your Child newsletter.
The green check mark has become a known symbol for healthy food items, “Smart Choices” to be exact. Unfortunately state and federal authorities disagree and feel the Smart Choices program should be suspended. Many believe the food industry is trying to mislead consumers, citing cereals like Kellogg’s Froot Loops which have the seal of approval but are made of almost 40% sugar.
According to the New York Times, the Food and Drug Administration sent the Smart Choices program a letter in late summer voicing concerns that the label could lead consumers to choose highly processed foods over healthier foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Smart Choices responded in kind, sending a letter next week that they plan to stop recruiting companies to take part in the program and have made plans to stop promoting the program to consumers. We’ll see if the FDA can come up with a better labeling system.
The suspension of the Smart Choices program comes at an interesting time, no pun intended. Time Magazine recently named ten sugary breakfast bowl items as their top “cereal offenders” for the year. Nutritionists love to complain about sugary cereals, and I suppose you can’t blame them. Not only do they target kids specifically with their marketing tactics, some are made of over 40% sugar and STILL manage to keep their ‘Smart Choices’ healthy food seal of approval. This is a perfect case study of how the Smart Choices program has failed consumers. Here’s the comprehensive list of kid breakfast favorites to be on the lookout for, and why: