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“Keep it complex” – A guide to U.S. government strategy on health care

Updated: Mar 30

Keep it complex! Have you ever read that in a self help goal setting book? I sure haven’t, but it seems to be the U.S. government strategy for healthcare. It would appear there was only one piece of instruction when developing goals and strategies for improvement of American healthcare – “Keep it complex”.

Just take a look at the first two sentences of CDC’s strategic goals for reducing the obesity epidemic. The first two sentences state: “The obesity epidemic has no single or simple solution. It’s a complex problem”. As benign as this sounds, they are basically stating, “Keep it Complex”.

When looking at goals, it’s always a good idea to figure out what the problems are. You can almost always find “the big one”. The problem that dwarfs the others. You tackle that one and you have solved 70% of the issue. That doesn’t mean you ignore the 30%, but you certainly give the 70% the lion’s share of the attention. Focus brings better results.

In the American obesity issue, sugar is “the big one”. One hundred years ago, Americans were consuming 3-5 pounds of sugar per year on the average. Currently the average American is consuming just north of 100 pounds; a whopping 33 times as much. Thats thirty-three billion, one hundred ninety million pounds of sugar flowing into American mouths per year. To put that into context, that could fill up almost 17 empire state buildings. I had a math whiz check my numbers.

Glucose (sugar) is at the forefront of what causes Insulin Resistance, which leads to type II Diabetes. It raises insulin levels and when done for a chronic period of time, it causes the body’s cells to become resistant to Insulin’s effects. This can also lead to obesity, hypertension, heart disease, hyperlipidemia and a multitude of other chronic diseases independent of Diabetes. These were the rich man’s diseases 100 years ago because that’s who could afford 100 pounds of sugar, now it’s accessible to everyone. So fun.

The last 70 years have shown us a few things. Food pyramids and telling people to exercise 150 minutes per week does not work. Remember the 80’s and 90’s and the bright spandex. Don’t get me wrong, exercise is a crucial step but it’s not “the big one”. Stop the sugar and the average American would lose 15-25 lbs the first year. Maybe completely removing it is a bit excessive, but 100 pounds is embarrassing; it’s double the world’s average per human.

Let’s stop this insane strategy that the U.S. government has been employing and “keep it simple”. Stop or at least reduce the sugar!

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