Sunday, October 30, 2005

Medicine: Save the Fat Children!

Podgy children 'face heart risk' from the BBC

Children who are not obese or obviously overweight, but just a little podgy may be harming their hearts, a study says.
Doomed! We're all doomed!

Also, I saw a television commercial here the UK by a health insurer, advertising lower premiums for people who "look after themselves," which they spoke of as comparable to lower rates on auto insurance for fewer incidents, or lower house rates for burgler alarms.

So perhaps I should get a Hamburgler alarm?

What do the med students think about the concept? Not about the alarm, but lower premiums for people who keep and use gym memberships and the like?

5 comments:

Garrett said...

I've heard the concept of 'incentive-based insurance premium' tossed around quite a bit,

Principles: does it make sense that people who will, statistically speaking, require fewer health services, should contribute less to the private health service fund? it does, as much as we consider obesity and its associated lifestyle aspects to be wholly choice. however, if we consider obesity and its psychosocial aspects to be pathology, like lupus or syphilis, then I don't know that it does make much sense, given the conventions we use today. of course, there are strong advocates that say that younger, healthier people should take out much less insurance and, thus, pay much less for a catastrophic insurance.

whether it does or does not 'make sense' for healthier people to pay less for insurance really doesn't matter much. what does matter: 1) would forcing obese people to pay higher premiums actually result in lifestyle modification, and 2) does this change, in toto, restrict or expand access to health care. per 1), we have no good studies that suggest that increasing insurance premiums would actually lead to anyone eating less or exercising. 2) is a more complicated question, if you consider that the extra money paid in by the obese would turn into either profit or greater access for others.

in total, i can't personally tolerate the idea of increased insurance premiums for people with disease, no matter how much psychosocial impetus is involved. cigarrette smokers, who are even more obviously destroying themselves of their own free will, should not find themselves choosing between health insurance or their next carton, because inevitably, they'll pick the next carton.

and how such an increase would differentially affect the poor over the rich, oh me, that's a whole other can of worms...

J Hearne said...

How bout those of us who have medical issues that we didn't bring about by ourselves. We get shafted on fees, as well?

Kyle said...

Good points. What do you think can be "done" to get people healthier, as a budding medical professional as well as someone who thinks about public policy?

Anonymous said...

What needs to be done is: close down all Sam's Clubs, BJs, Costco-type of places.

Next, kill the TV and stop buying the video games, Tinkie Winkie tapes and sugar pops.

Put them outside and leave them there until their salad dinner with lean fish is ready.

Finally, don't buy anything that isn't on the outside perimeter at the supermarket and vote Democrat!

Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

What needs to be done is: close down all Sam's Clubs, BJs, Costco-type of places.

Next, kill the TV and stop buying the video games, Tinkie Winkie tapes and sugar pops.

Put them outside and leave them there until their salad dinner with lean fish is ready.

Finally, don't buy anything that isn't on the outside perimeter at the supermarket and vote Democrat!

Problem solved.