There’s a Direct relationship between poverty, obesity, and the cost of health care.
Here’s some statistics, mostly from the 2010 census:
- 15.1% of Americans (46.2 million) live in poverty, including 22% of our children. 20% live in extreme poverty.
- 3.2 million Americans were kept out of poverty by unemployment insurance.
- 20.3 million were kept out of poverty by social security.
- The poverty threshold for a family of four is $22,113; the 2010 avg. income of the bottom 90% was $26.364.
- $6,298 — decline in median working-age household income from 2000 to 2010.
- 49.1 million — number of people under 65 without any health insurance.
- 13.6 million — decline in people under 65 with employer-sponsored health insurance from 2000-2010.
- Public health officials can accurately predict obesity and longevity rates by zip codes. One inner city example had an average lifespan of just 64 years while it was 90 years in a wealthier neighborhood just 8 miles away. (HBO’s documentary, The Weight of the Nation)
- Disadvantaged communities are at higher risk for many preventable health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis B and C, and infant mortality, largely due to the lack of health care, nutritious food at affordable prices, and sidewalks and parks to encourage exercise.
- Pressures from Job, Money, Divorce and Violence cause a vicious cycle of Stress = Obesity = Stress.
Tech innovation and automation also plays a role, increasing productivity and profits for some, but eliminating jobs faster than creating new ones. Dr. Oz apparently agrees, as shown in this article, which also features a CBS report on the jobs impact of robotics and a collection of slides that I recently presented to a local jobs group.