April 20, 2005

Can't afford to be healthy

This morning I note that the CDC has "found that people who are modestly overweight have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight." The CDC is a post office like government agency whose only benefit to me over the last 30 years has been to provide me with a free subscription to their MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report). This publication, which used to come by mail, but now is delivered to my e-mail box, is very useful for tracking epidemics that might be headed your way. Doctors report what they are treating, and the MMWR compiles the data so you can see trends. The MMWR is a staple for paranoids everywhere.

But for advice on healthy living, I have found the CDC to be worse than useless. Paul at Wizbang explains how this happens in a post I missed last night. (This time of year, feeders and farmers hit the sack early.) The CDC often doesn't know what they are talking about, yet they just keep talking. Their conclusions about the effects of being overweight on morbidity are as useless as their advice on whether or not you should drink coffee. Advice that changes with the wind isn't much use when planning something requiring 'long-term' action, like regulating how much you weigh.

Jeremy has a more important aspect of the situation at the MUSC Tiger, namely the personal finance aspect. What it boils down to is that I can't afford to be healthy. If it wasn't for Tri-Care for life, I'd never be able to afford to even talk to a Doctor. Same goes for meds: I drive all the way to Offutt to get my nerve pills. But I always believed that a healthy lifestyle was within my means. (It took me most of a lifetime and cost me half my liver to decide what healthy was.) Living healthy was cheap. Putting the demon rum behind me and quitting cigarettes all helped out my bottom line. And as long as being healthy meant not being really fat, I figured I was in the right. Getting fat costs money. I have no money, so I am safe, right?

Now I'll have to put on some weight if I want to live long. Like the monkey said when he peed on the cash register, "This is going to run into the money." Thanks, CDC.

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