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Why is chronic disease such a problem for the United States?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
The United States spends two to four times as much on health care as Mexico, China, Japan, India and most of Europe. Why? Because we have two to four times as much chronic disease. We can blame this on the four hazards of modern life: 1) tobacco; 2) eating too much -- often unhealthy food; 3) sitting too much; and 4) not managing stress.

Now consider the fallout from one blatant result, obesity: In 17 years, it triggers a tsunami of type 2 diabetes, then heart disease, then cancer.

Chronic diseases aren't just ruining lives, though that's bad enough. The cost of treating them is costing us jobs (maybe yours). Put very simply, when health costs hit a certain point -- roughly 8% of what we produce -- jobs start moving to less expensive countries.

We aren't the only ones getting fatter and sicker. All countries are. It's just that we're so far ahead of other countries that we'll lose our jobs and standard of living sooner if we don’t do something about it. Now.

Obesity and most chronic diseases are reversible. It just takes making healthier choices.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.