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So everyone these days seems to be so worried about the H1N1 influenza virus. Now, I know any time a new infectious microbe comes onto the scene that it could be dangerous. But it is on the national news daily, everyone is talking about it around the water cooler at work, and one case in a community causes a panic.

I get it, it is new, its sexy. The new bad guy with all of the gadgets gets the attention.

But …

What about obesity? Obesity kills or leads to the early death of more people in this country in one year than H1N1 will kill in the next 50 years. I received a link to this article through an e-mail list serve this week:
Estimated county-level prevalence of diabetes and obesity

Looking at the graphic: We have states with >30% obesity rates?

And when you look at the states that are doing well, they are ranked 0-26.2%. Is there really much of a difference between 26.2% and 30%?

When I was rotating through the hospital setting, especially when I was working in cardiology, more often than not, the patients were definitely on the heavier side. Now that is just an observation, but the literature definitely does support a link between obesity and metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease.

When are we as a society going to recognize this as a problem and call for more noticeable and health critical nutritional information labeling on unprepared and prepared foods? When are we going to get sodas, candy, and unhealthy lunches out of schools?

This definitely also links into the recent health care reform topics. What better way to lower costs and utilization in the health care system than to lower one of the primary risk factors for diabetes and heart disease and consequently their long-term complications?

What can the pharmacy profession do to help combat this epidemic?

What are pharmacists currently doing to help improve this situation?

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August 2017
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