Focused On Fitness
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Volume 1, Issue 24 - August 24, 2006 Brought to you by
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Enhancing the Lives of the Friends of

Is health care our problem or someone else's problem. Do we care for our health and stay healthy or do we let our habits and lifestyles dictate and pay the consequences? Let's look at how the issue is being viewed by economists.

In this issue:
» Editorial: Making Health Care the Engine That Drives the Economy
» Fitness tips, recipes, motivation and more
» This week's health and fitness resources
» This week's health and fitness articles
» This week's "sidewalk sale" items
» Health and fitness news headlines
» Health and fitness article archives
» Making a difference
» Going, going, gone...

Editorial: Making Health Care the Engine That Drives the Economy

It was tempting to just let you read the article that appeared in the New York Times this week entitled "Making Health Care the Engine That Drives the Economy", but it was so dumbfounding, that I had to at least make a few comments. Let's see what health care is in this country and think about what it should be.

"Angus Deaton, an economist at Princeton, had a hip replacement last year. And while he was happy with the outcome, he wondered how much it had cost. He got a few answers. His hospital room was $10,000 a day. 'Telephone and television were extra,' he said. As for the total cost, there were so many charges associated with one service after another — anesthesia, pain management, physical therapy, the surgery itself — that he was never able to figure out how much each of them cost. 'Maybe if I devoted my life to this for six months I could find out,' Dr. Deaton said. 'The price that is paid is the price an insurer negotiates, and that is kept in a vault somewhere.' All he knows for sure is that insurers say they pay, on average, $50,000 for a hip replacement."

"The United States already spends nearly 16 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, and it is almost impossible to know where all that money goes. Projections are that health care will take up even more of the G.D.P. as the population ages and as more expensive drugs and medical devices are developed. But a new economic approach to health care expenditures views costs in a very different light. Economists agree that huge increases are coming. But some say that may be just fine. By 2030, predicts Robert W. Fogel, a Nobel laureate at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, about 25 percent of the G.D.P. will be spent on health care, making it 'the driving force in the economy,' just as railroads drove the economy at the start of the 20th century.

Economists say that it is just fine that huge increases are coming because health care will be the driving force in the economy just like railroads were? In an article on the impact of railroads, it says, "The railroad epitomized American technological and commercial development during the 19th century. During this time railroads opened up our local region to both settlement and natural resource development, carrying produce back east to feed a growing market. In turn, the railroads made national and international markets accessible to merchants, allowing them to grow far beyond the limits of our local economy." Railroads were symbolic of our growth and expansion and development as a nation. Health care, to me, means that we have let ourselves become dependent on a system.

"Unless the current system is changed, most health care costs will continue to be paid by insurance, especially Medicare, which means that the taxpayers will foot the bill. But Dr. Fogel says he is not alarmed. Americans can afford it, he says, because the nation is so rich. 'It takes so little of household income to satisfy expenditures on food, clothing and shelter,' he explains. 'At the end of the 19th century, food, clothing and shelter accounted for 80 percent of the family budget. Today it's about a third.' Other economists agree. 'We have to spend our money on something,' says Robert E. Hall, a Stanford University economist."

"Victor R. Fuchs, also an economist at Stanford, notes that buying health care is fundamentally different from buying a television or a car. 'Most of it involves transfers from the young to the old,' he said. 'Down the road, most medical care will be for people over age 65, and most of the payments will be from taxes on younger people.' Dr. Fuchs calls it the restaurant check problem. 'You go out to a restaurant with a bunch of friends and you sort of understand that you will split the check,' he said. 'The waiter comes along and says, ‘The lobster looks very good, and how about a soufflé for dessert? The restaurant check balloons, but you are not so careful because you figure everyone is splitting it.'"

"The issue, he says, is not how much is being spent but whether spending more is the answer. Are those extra dollars buying marked improvements in health or are they making any difference? That, Dr. Deaton said, was the point of his exercise in trying to find out the cost of his hip replacement: 'Is it worth spending all this money on a hip replacement?' In London, he said, a hip replacement costs £5,000, or about $9,500. Don't you think people would prefer to have it for £5,000? Dr. Deaton said. 'It is probably true that if we spent twice as much money on health care we'd be better off. But half the money we spend is wasted.'"

In a paper published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Dr. Robert E Hall, a Stanford economist and Charles I. Jones of the University of California, Berkeley, write: 'As we get older and richer, which is more valuable: a third car, yet another television, more clothing — or an extra year of life? We have to spend our money on something,' says Dr. Hall'"

We have to spend our money on something? "A typical person aged 45 will spend $30,000 more over their lifetime caring for cardiovascular disease than they would have spent in 1950. And they will live maybe three more years because of it.” So drug companies and medical technology companies will drive our economy because we are so rich that we have to spend our money on something? What about research and development to eradicate devastating diseases or lowering the rate of poverty in the United States. "The official poverty rate in the U.S. has increased for four consecutive years, from a 26-year low of 11.3% in 2000 to 12.7% in 2004. This means that 37.0 million people were below the official poverty thresholds in 2004. This is 5.4 million more than in 2000. The poverty rate for children under 18 years old increased from 16.2% to 17.8% over that period." The official Health and Human Services Poverty Guideline is that a family of four has to make $20,000 a year or less. I will let you figure out the impact of poverty on our health care system.

Can you imagine how much money there would be to spend on the development of our nation if "health care" was an individual thing consisting of eating right and exercising and a healthy lifestyle instead of being dependent on a system where we don't even know where our money is going...?

Richard Dafter   
OEO (Only Executive Officer)   
Health and fitness resources
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» Denise Austin Fit Forever - Her newest body-slimming program zeros in on your trouble spots and helps you start to shrink your fat zones in 6 weeks!
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» Jillian Michaels's Real Weight Loss for Real People - Best known as the strength trainer and life coach for the Red Team on NBCs hit series The Biggest Loser
» eDiets Diet and Weight Loss Programs - The #1 visited Health, Fitness & Nutrition Site
» MyBeachbody - Personalized meal plans and interactive diet and fitness tools
» Weight Watchers® - Online weight-loss from the name you trust
This week's health and fitness articles
Coffee Nutrition 911, Part VIII: Coffee—Friend or Foe? - Today we discuss the most popular drink in the world, coffee. I don't actually know where these statistics come from, but since we mainly want to discuss one ingredient, caffeine, I'll lump coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages into the same discussion so that we'll be sure to be addressing something that's pertinent to almost all of you. Coffee and tea have been around for the entirety of recorded history, so no matter what science tells us, we begin this article with some time-tested knowledge that people don't go around dropping dead over the stuff, nor will it get you banned for cheating when you win the Olympics. Or will it? Continued...
Pizza Guilt-Free Pizza - Pizza. Delicious, hot, and cheesy. It tastes good hot. It tastes good cold. It can be used effectively to treat both depression AND hangovers! It feeds a family of four in 30 minutes or less with no dishes! Now that's a miracle food. But there's a catch. It has tons of calories and is chock-full of bad carbs and fats. Oh, why must the nutrition gods be so cruel? Continued...
This week's "sidewalk sale" items
When you go to the grocery store, or any store for that matter, don't you always buy the product in the perfect package. I always ship the heart rate monitor to you in the perfect box and then order new boxes if I get shipments that have heart rate monitors in even slightly damaged boxes. That really doesn't make sense, so I decided to put those monitors out on a "table" in front of the store and create a "sidewalk sale." I can't advertise these items, so this is a "private" sale, just for my readers. All of these items are brand new and obviously come with full two year Polar warranties. Because these prices can't be advertised, I can only accept phone orders at 866 797-7336 and all orders will be shipped USPS Priority Mail
Polar FS3 Dark Grey - $64.95 - you save $5.00
Polar F4 Black Amber - $73.70 - you save $6.25
Polar F6 Black Coal - $92.45 - you save $7.50
Polar F6 Denim Stone - $92.45 - you save $7.50
Polar F6 Denim Stone - $92.45 - you save $7.50
Polar F11 Blue Glow - $149.95 - you save $10.00
Going, going, gone...
A heads up to your family members and friends about two models of Polar heart rate monitors being discontinued. The Polar F6 Sand Pearl has been discontinued because the color was not popular. The Polar M32, which is a great model, has come to the end of its reign. There is no price drop allowed yet, but as of 8/24, I have three Sand Pearl and five M32's in stock.
Polar F6 Sand Pearl - $99.95
Polar M32 - $109.95
Fitness tips, recipes, motivation and more
Postive Habits  
Body Fat Calculator - online body fat estimator from Stevens Creek Software
Fitness & Nutrition Calculators - get your BMI, calorie intake and more
Fitness Solution Finder - determine which fitness solution is right for you
Fitness Tip of the Day - get insightful tips everyday
Get Motivated For Life Success System - for struggle free fitness and fat loss
Motivation for Today - great thoughts to keep you going
Demos & Tutorials - Polar product demos for various models
Recipe of the Day - a great recipe for every day of the week
Target Zone Calculator - key target zones to help you achieve specific goals
Training Logs - keep track of all of your workouts with these free training logs

I'll See You Again Next Issue
Thank you for reading this week's issue of Focused On Fitness.

Editor: Richard Dafter, OEO (Only Executive Officer),

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Albuquerque, NM 87109

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