Sedentary (and obsolete) office/commuter culture drives epidemic of obesity and diabetes, pushing up health costs
Today’s Sacramento Bee has an article spotlighting a public health crisis that has been developing over the past two decades: rising levels of diabetes that are in turn driving up medical costs — and the cost of health insurance. As the article point out, whether or not people develop diabetes (with particular note given to the large cohort of aging Baby Boomers approaching 65) is largely within their control through healthy diet and regular exercise:
The good news is that unlike type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune disorder often with onset in childhood – type 2 diabetes often can be prevented by healthy lifestyle habits: walking 30 minutes five times each week and eating a balanced diet.
It’s a simple solution to the epidemic. But by the millions, people don’t do it.
“We have more sedentary jobs now,” said Dr. Debra Bakerjian, a UC Davis Nursing School adjunct professor and president of geriHealthsolutions, a long-term care consulting firm. “We work long hours, and many people commute.
“It’s hard to work exercise in there — most of us don’t have jobs that allow us to be mobile. And with the time crunch, we lean toward fast food.”
The obvious implication for the health cost crisis is combating it will require changing how information work gets done. Smarter, not longer. And reducing the time spent commuting to and sitting in cubicles and offices in order to free up time for exercise and healthier eating habits. With the near ubiquity of Internet connections, commuting to an office to get Internet access is not only becoming obsolete — it also has negative public health implications.