The Looming Pandemic

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GET UP AND MOVE!

Let’s get something out of the way for starters. Covid-19 is real. Over 200k Americans have died due to complications from Covid-19 and this is a tragedy. You should be practicing social distancing and if the feeling takes hold of you then wear your mask. This article is not about Covid-19 specifically though. It is about the results of Covid-19 sweeping across the globe and the wake up call that Covid-19 should be for everyone, but not in the way you might think.

Obesity and Covid-19

Obesity. It is something we have all seemed to just accept in the modern world. While we all are falling all over ourselves to lock down businesses and confine everyone to their homes because of Covid-19 there is a far more deadly pandemic that has been going on all around us for years. According to the CDC heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are three of the leading causes of death in the United States. All three of which we know are largely caused by the average American diet that consists of large amounts of refined sugar and carbohydrates. Being obese is one of the most dangerous thing you can be in the modern world. Now more than ever with a new virus spreading around that specifically targets the respiratory system. With Pfizer releasing information that they have developed a vaccine that is over 90% effective many people are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Once a truly effective vaccine is available people believe that we can finally end this strange period of stagnation we have all found ourselves in. However for a large portion of the country a vaccine might not be the magic bullet they are hoping it will be. The fact is that being obese makes you not only far more susceptible to dying or being hospitalized from Covid-19 it also makes a potential vaccine far less effective. The CDC states that obesity can triple your likelihood of being hospitalized from a Covid-19 infection and as BMI increases the likelihood of death from Covid-19 also increases. Since obesity has been found to impair your immune function you are far more likely to contract Covid-19 in the first place, and if that weren’t bad enough it has also been shown that obesity decreases vaccine effectiveness for numerous other diseases. There is no reason to assume that this will not hold true for Covid-19 as well. So with obesity and Covid-19 creating such a dangerous situation what are we doing to combat this?

Lockdowns

Ok, so I’m going to get on my soap box for just a minute. Lockdowns and mask mandates are flat out unconstitutional. They are causing a mental health crisis around the world and are going to lead to some pretty terrible outcomes long term. With that being said the lockdowns in particular are having the effect of making people more sedentary. It seemed at first that a lot of people were choosing to get outside because it was the only thing you could do. Now though as the weather turns colder in much of the United States people are staying indoors more and more. With many places still keeping gyms closed this is going to result in an even worse obesity epidemic than we were already experiencing before these lockdowns. The truly terrifying part is that this obesity problem has been with us for quite a while and even with all the scary numbers on early death and chronic disease that are available we haven’t seen the same level of paranoia about obesity that we do about Covid-19. If we tried even 50% as hard to combat obesity as we do to combat Covid-19 we could save more live than Covid-19 could ever take. These lockdowns must end, not only are they making people more sedentary but they are increasing rates of depression and suicidal ideation which can also cause people to over eat thus exacerbating the obesity problem. It is my belief that we have been facing a pandemic in the modern world for decades and Covid-19 has simply brought it to light. The fact is that if you are under the age of 60 and in good shape you have far more to fear from fast food than you do from Covid-19. The CDC released data showing that only 6% of people in the US who have died from Covid-19 had no other co-morbidities. Now this was a controversial topic for quite a while, I think what it shows is that having co-morbidities like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and many others makes you more susceptible to death at any given time whether it’s from Covid-19 or another complication. So the real pandemic we all need to be fighting is obesity and these lockdowns are not helping. People with comorbidities need to take the proper precautions to protect themselves and we need to get the country moving again. Yes, people are going to get Covid-19. Even if we lock down for another year the disease will still exist and people will get it as they come out of lockdown. If your hoping the vaccine will save you then what happens when we lock down and rates of obesity sky rocket? The vaccine will be less effective for an even larger portion of the US population.

Obesity In The U.S.

We are already facing obesity rates that hit 42.4% in the Unites States, this means that nearly half the population is at risk of a vaccine being less effective for them. This number is up a whopping 26% since 2008, these are the numbers that should be truly terrifying for us here in the United States. Consider also that childhood obesity rates are on the rise again, 19.3% of people between 2 and 19 years old are obese in this country. Young people are extremely unlikely to die of Covid-19 but if we allow obesity rates to continue to climb in this demographic then their likelihood of early and preventable death is going to climb right along with it. So what I am trying to drill into you with this article is that fear can be good and bad. Fear of a new disease like Covid-19 is good and healthy, however when we have good data to show that Covid-19 has nowhere near the death rate that we feared and data to show us the most vulnerable segments of the population it becomes bad fear to demand that the entire population lock down to stop the spread. We should be re-opening the economy. Allowing the young and healthy to continue to work and create wealth while protecting the vulnerable populations like the old and infirm. What this crisis should tell all of us is the real road to lower death rates for not only Covid-19 but all disease is a healthier lifestyle.

Make A Change

I absolutely fall into the category of overweight. I recognize this and for a long time have chosen to ignore it. This was a mistake on my part and has made me more susceptible to disease. I have been lucky and have been generally healthy my whole life, but this won’t continue unless I make a change. So I don’t want you to think that I don’t include myself in the advice given in this article. I have made many changes to my lifestyle in the last few months and I suggest you all take a hard look at your own lives and do the same if needed. The unfortunate reality is that personal responsibility is the only way for us to get out of this crisis. We all need to be accountable for what we put in our bodies and how much we exert ourselves. So don’t let these lockdowns cause you to enter the vicious cycle of obesity and ill health. Get up and move!

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