Suppose we said you could make yourself healthier, save the economy and bank a million bucks by watching TV. You’d probably say: “OK, YOU Docs, you’ve lost it. Stick with medicine.”
But we are sticking with medicine. Bear with us here. We’ll get maybe too serious for half this column, but the juicy ending could make you rich. Promise!
Here’s what’s serious: Americans spend 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. Why? Blame four hazards of modern life: 1) tobacco — yep, still; 2) eating too much — often unhealthy food; 3) sitting too much; 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.
In 1990, 6.9 percent of American adults were obese. Today, more than 28 percent are. If you feel like type 2 diabetes is rampant now, just wait. In disability and dollars, we’ve seen only the leading edge.
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 percent of what we produce — jobs start moving to less-expensive countries. In 1990, our costs hit almost 12 percent, and jobs started leaving in droves. They still are. By 2017, that number could hit 18 percent.
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 too if we don’t do something about it — now.
We can do this. It’s not that hard. Because obesity and most chronic diseases are reversible. It just takes making healthier choices. The huge fringe benefit if we do? You’ll stop seeing so many friends and neighbors die young, go jobless or both. Or stop worrying that either could happen to you.
We’re taking on this challenge. We want this to be the year that you put YOU first — that you take control of your weight and your health once and for all. We’ll be right beside you. And here’s the fun part (yeah, we know, finally) that will make you healthier and maybe way wealthier!
Today we’re launching our biggest challenge ever: a seven-step program called Transformation Nation.
It launches — this is the watch-TV bit — on Dr. Oz’s show (check local listings). For motivation, one lucky person who completes all seven steps will walk off with $1 million!
We’ll help you transform your health, one step at a time. To help get it done, we’re proudly working with Weight Watchers, which shares our goals: healthy food, fitness and support.
By doing this, you are treating yourself like the prize you deserve. Even more important, you’ll be around for the people who love and need you so much.
Go to www.doctoroz.com now to sign up.
7-step plan for transformation
1. Get more sleep. At least 30 more minutes a night.
2. Lessen stress. It’s strongly linked to big bellies.
3. Find out your Body Mass Index. If it isn’t healthy, we’ll help you lose weight.
4. Enlist a friend. Don’t go it alone.
5. Check your family health history. Know your risks.
6. Walk with us. Do 30 to 60 minutes, five days a week.
7. Get your “numbers” — blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar.
The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic, are authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” For more information go to www.RealAge.com.