FJ Thomas wrote an article on our site the other day recapping findings of a United Health Care study that told us Americans are getting fatter and becoming more stressed. I appreciate my own health insurance company deploying impeccable timing with that warm and cheery holiday message.

I’m just kidding. Personally, I was just happy to see that Florida didn’t make the “ten worst” list this year, despite my contribution to the cause. Florida makes so many odd lists, it’s just nice to see that we miss one once in a while.  

Thomas reported that: 

Obesity and diabetes, mental health, and drug deaths were among the metrics that have gotten worse over the last several years. Since 2012, obesity has increased from 27 percent of adults to 30.9 percent. Likewise, diabetes increased from 9.5 percent of adults to 10.9 percent.

My own personal observation as a frequent flyer is that these numbers may be a tad low. My own non-scientific findings are that virtually 100% of Americans are vastly overweight. Or more specifically, 100% of Americans who fly are vastly overweight. Or even more specifically, 100% of the people who sit next to me are vastly overweight. Of course, I am also vastly overweight, so those statistics hold in reverse. Either way, whenever we fly nowadays, we are literally sharing a seat with someone. 

I also have a theory that the last guy on the plane (the one who never checks in on time or just barely makes the flight) is going to be the largest of all. As a Southwest Airlines flyer (where seating is open and people just choose a seat), that means they will be looking for the last cramped middle seat on the aircraft. That seat is usually next to me, since no one wanted to sit next to the second fattest guy on the plane. 

I sense I have digressed somewhat, although I am still technically talking about one area of findings from this study….. 

The results regarding stress and mental health were most fascinating, especially given the political climate of today. The study found: 

The statistics also suggest that people are more stressed out as well. In the past four years, reports of frequent mental distress rose from 11.0 percent to 12.4 percent. A corresponding increase in mental health providers has occurred during that time. In the last two years, the study showed there has been an increase in mental health providers from 218.0 per 100,000 people to 247.4.

Wow. In just two years, there has been a massive increase in mental health providers for the nation. Using my less than stellar ciphering skills and a population base of 350,000,000, that means we have gone from 763,000 mental health professionals to 865,900; an increase of 13.5%. That’s crazy. Say what you will about Donald Trump, but he clearly has helped every area of our economy. With Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) at “off the chart” levels, there seems to have been a huge boon in the field of mental health.

I have to call my stockbroker. If Trump wins re-election in 2020, that sector is going to soar even more.

Regardless of the reason, rising stress levels are always a concern. I’ve tried being stressed and have found it to be overrated. Nowadays I seem to throw my efforts into being obese, and not worrying about it all that much. In fact, since I gave up caring, life has become far simpler. (For those of you about to report me to a suicide hotline, relax. This is humor. Admittedly it is harder to recognize these days, especially for those suffering from TDS. Or when it is just not funny. Whichever.)

It is great that we get these types of studies. It is nice that we can increase our stress levels worrying about studies that show our stress levels are increasing. It is ironic that United Health Care can explain it in such detailed fashion when they seem incapable of explaining simpler things, like why they denied payment on lab work ordered by my wife’s doctor. 

But I am not going to worry about it. Life marches on, and frankly, stress is not everything it is cracked up to be.

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