Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nutrition is the way to good health

First a quick note on the ongoing health reform debate. Can you believe that a plus for the Senate bill is that premiums will not go up??? The mind boggles. After the unthinkable rises in health insurance costs, we're supposed to feel good that the exorbitant current costs for employer provided health insurance will not rise?

OK, it brings in the uninsured; OK, it gives needed support to many of what we used to call the "medically indigent," too much money to get Medicaid, not enough to buy insurance. OK, that's good, very good and very important, well worth doing. But "no rise" in health insurance costs is supposed to be good? Our group got hit by 20% rises two years running, and "only" 4% this year for Kaiser HMO insurance, or really lousy Kaiser sponsored POS insurance -- where is our relief, Mr. Man? Stinko, guys, just stinko.

OK - now the meat of this post. Nutrition - that's really the road to lower costs! If we ate right (and exercised right, and took our statins and blood pressure meds right), we'd really lower costs. See the Safeway plan, commented on many months ago here as I undertook the serious job of health reform analysis probably last spring.

But for nutrition, it's not just eating at home. Americans like to eat out - just look around the city, and if you're looking for it, you can't help but be struck by how society has built itself around the biological imperative that we need to eat. We have found a way to make it a social glue, and an economic boon.

So, how do we domesticate this proliferation of places to eat? How do we turn it to our advantage? How do we make these places Mecca's of good nutrition and good health, yet not abstemious?

Here, in lowly Fremont, California, is the modern answer to our nutritional and social needs.


I rest my case.

Budd Shenkin


  1. Our habits are indeed part of the problem. The question is how much? Say we all eat better, how much do we save? A quantification of the benefits resulting from improved behavior may give impetus for some to change.

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