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Combating Obesity, A Call for Healthcare Overhaul and a New Approach with ReforMedicine

Tyler Shepherd

Obesity in the U.S. has grown significantly, ranking as the 12th most obese country globally but the first among high-income countries. According to statistics, it affects 41.9% of adults and 19.7% of children, resulting in $147 billion in annual healthcare costs. As this epidemic worsens, the need to tackle the root causes of obesity has become urgent.

Obesity is a long-standing health problem contributing to over 200 different health problems. Due to the mischaracterization of the contributing causes, an unhealthy population has become a lucrative source of income for influential industries, such as pharmaceutical corporations and healthcare organizations. At the core of the issue is a seemingly self-fulfilling cycle, with ReforMedicine owner David Usher M.D. describing it as "the more people that are sick, the more money these big organizations can make." provider-david-usher

David Usher M.D., Family Practice Physician, and obesity medicine specialist practicing in Wisconsin, brings over 30 years of experience in family medicine and weight management to the front lines of these issues. He recognized the need for a new approach and founded ReforMedicine, an independent family practice and medical weight loss clinic that focuses on high quality primary care for individuals and employer groups, offering transparent pricing and accessibility. In order to keep costs down, ReforMedicine has never accepted third-party insurance.

Insurance companies in the US have a cap on the percentage of premiums they can keep as profit, so raising premiums is the primary way to increase profitability. Therefore, insurance companies are not interested in lowering healthcare costs as higher prices are the justification for higher premiums. Hence, people with illnesses that need care end up paying more for procedures and treatments. Higher costs result in more people avoiding healthcare until absolutely necessary, increasing the severity of illnesses, which in turn leads to even higher healthcare spending overall. This leads to higher premiums and increasing profits of the health insurance and drug companies.

The US government has had a huge impact on the way Americans eat for the last few decades. The dietary guidelines formed by the US government have contributed to an increase in carbohydrate consumption, starting with the Food Pyramid, which was based on a high carbohydrate, low fat diet. This has resulted in Americans eating roughly 300 more calories per day in carbohydrates. The objective of the government was to promote healthy eating habits, however, this did not prevent the onset of the obesity epidemic.

The food industry has also added high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to many products. It is an inexpensive by-product of ethanol production, an industry subsidized by the US Government. As HFCS has become more affordable and accessible, sugar consumption has increased. This is toxic to the body, as it deprives mitochondria in the body’s cells of energy and affects the brain's ability to regulate eating and overeating.

Sugar and carbohydrate addiction in the diet work similarly to addiction to alcohol or drugs. When following a high carbohydrate diet, individuals become accustomed to the “hit” that comes from eating concentrated carbohydrates. They often develop a distorted relationship with food, not recognizing it as a drug, developing cravings which they confuse for hunger.

Dr. Usher and ReforMedicine are at the forefront of a movement that seeks to break the unsustainable profit-driven cycle of escalating healthcare costs and empower people to take charge of their health. The goal of Dr. Usher's medical weight loss centers are to help people learn how to lose weight for the long term, thereby allowing them to manage their chronic conditions, reducing the need for expensive treatments and medications.

ReforMedicine offers a unique approach to treating chronic diseases, which can be improved through weight loss. This non-surgical medical treatment begins with a targeted exam and thorough lab tests, followed by an eating plan with grocery store food. Some patients use medication to aid in weight loss, while others find a change in current medications to facilitate weight loss.

The clinic's pricing information is quite transparent and is available on the clinic's website, and is posted clearly in their clinics for patients and staff. They offer convenient locations and hours, friendly staff, unhurried appointments, and affordable appointments and procedures.

Published November 29, 2023