agriculture * food * energy * environment
Things sometimes have a tendency to come in threes.
For instance, take the trilogy of Chinese curses:
1. May you live in interesting times.
2. May you come to the attention of those in authority.
3. May you find what you are looking for.
A variation of the first Chinese curse could be: May you live in scary times.
Scary times is more direct than interesting time.
While we are in the Halloween season, one can say these are scary times. According to a Purdue University mass media effects expert, while monsters and ghosts (vampires and zombies) are a big part of the Halloween fright tradition, when those sorts of specific fears are combined with fear of the unknown, the overall fright intensity can be quite high.
“Fear is based on our judgment of the threat we are experiencing,” said Glenn Sparks, a professor of communication. “That level can be intensified if there are unknowns about the threat, because uncertainty is an ingredient that feeds into general anxiety.”
And there’s a lot of uncertainty feeding into society nowadays, especially from the mass media.
There’s the uncertainty of the economic crisis the world is going through; the uncertainty of climate change; the uncertainty of the flu pandemic: and the uncertainty of change.
When things are already uncertain for you, especially about your job, your health, public safety; or personal debt, then throw in an agenda of political change hammered into your perspective in the most negative of terms, then for some people who are struggling for stability in their personal lives, these really are scary times.
Here are some tips from Karen Munden of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service on smart meal planning that also cuts costs.
Munden said with the economic downturn, many families will be looking for ways to save during the holidays. She said that planning a meal before the trip to the grocery store usually reduces unnecessary purchases. She also encourages families to take an inventory of the food items in their cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer and develop creative meals with the food already there.
Researchers from Cambridge Health Alliance and Boston Medical Center report that uninsured people are also more likely to have undiagnosed and undertreated medical conditions. The new study compared chronic illnesses among Americans with and without health coverage. The results, according to the report, offer possible clues to a recently reported higher death rate among people who lack insurance.
Researchers tracked diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol in a national survey of more than 15,000 working-age adults, according to the article.
“ Based on questionnaires, medical exams, and lab test results, they found that about half of uninsured people who had diabetes or high cholesterol were unaware of it, compared with just under one-quarter of insured people who did not know they had these conditions. High blood pressure, however, was undiagnosed in about a quarter of both uninsured and insured people,” the article reports.
Once diagnosed, the report found that hypertension was poorly controlled in 58 percent of uninsured people and 51 percent of those with insurance. The treatment gap was larger for high cholesterol: 77 percent of uninsured versus 60 percent of insured people had inadequately treated levels.
Mandatory health insurance will pay for itself as healthy people are productive people. And healthy productive people will help dig the nation out of its trillion dollars debt.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), there area 285 million people worldwide who have diabetes.
The sad fact of the IDF report is that the brunt of the epidemic is among low and middle-income countries and affecting more people of working age than previously believed.
Reforming the health care system isn’t good enough, especially if there isn’t a component addressing why more and more people are demanding improved health care services that costs lots of money. Providing incentives to people to take better care of their lives and help prevent diseases, such as diabetes, and penalizing those with higher health care premiums who fail to practice preventative health care measures, such as diet and physical fitness.
For health care reform to work there has to be a degree of personal responsibility on how people take care of themselves. Taking another pill that’s now more affordable doesn’t address the cause of the disease. In the case of diabetes, in many cases, a lifestyle change becomes a critical component to treating the cause.
IDF predicts that diabetes will cost the world economy at least US$376 billion in 2010, or 11.6% of total world health care expenditure. By 2030, this number is projected to exceed US$490 billion. More than 80% of diabetes spending is in the world’s richest countries and not in the poorer countries, where over 70 percent of people with diabetes now live. The United States accounts for $198 billion or 52.7% of total diabetes spending worldwide.
Regardlessof health care reform and accessibility to health care coverage, if you don’t address the cause of the problem, the expense is still going to magnify itself dramatically. There’s no government solution to personal responsibility. America is going to have to start looking at itself if it really wants to address health care reform. It’s all about good choices and that starts with each and everyone of us.