Striking Increase in Disability Claims (Related to Obesity ?)

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by dojomo, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. dojomo

    dojomo New Member

    These are unbelieveable stats.... and should be an eye opener ...... but once again, it's blame the patient, blame obesity. Our conditions ARE NOT related to obesity, yet UnumProvident spins an article in that direction. But I do think that money talks and the more we cost them the more attention we will get, but they need to get their facts straight!!..DJ

    Striking Increase in Disability Claims Related to Obesity
    Wednesday August 18, 3:33 pm ET
    Conditions associated with obesity increase burden on health costs

    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- UnumProvident (NYSE: UNM - News) reports a dramatic increase in disability claims for chronic health conditions that are linked to obesity.

    A UnumProvident report released earlier this year cited a tenfold increase over the past decade in short term disability claims in which obesity was identified as the primary diagnosis. The figures released this week look at data from the same time period (1996-2003), pulling from the company's database of 1.3 million disability claims, the largest private database of disability information in the nation.

    UnumProvident reports striking increases in claims for conditions in which obesity is either a risk factor or is strongly associated. The disability claim experience of these chronic health conditions includes:

    4000% increase in syndromes that are primarily symptom-based such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome or Gulf War syndrome

    100% increase in hypertension --

    100% increase in diabetes --

    78% increase in musculoskeletal disorders --

    63% increase in cancer --

    46% increase in back disorders --

    17% increase in cardiovascular disease

    "The increase in the incidence of disability claims for conditions related to obesity is alarming, and illustrates the potential scope, in terms of burden of suffering and the increase in healthcare costs, attributable to the obesity epidemic," says Dr. Robert Anfield, vice president and medical director at UnumProvident. "It is clear that health and disability consequences of obesity are extensive and present daunting challenges."

    Indeed, the National Business Group on Health warns that the increasing obesity epidemic and its related health conditions hurt the health and well being of the current workforce, and threaten the health of employers' bottom line.
    "Today's employers must absorb increasing health care costs," Anfield says.

    "According to the National Institutes of Health, the direct healthcare costs attributable to overweight and obesity are now estimated to be $123 billion, or 9% of total U.S. healthcare costs. The cost of treating type 2 diabetes attributable to overweight and obesity is estimated to be $98 billion. The cost of treating heart disease attributable to overweight and obesity is estimated to be $8.8 billion, or 17% of the total healthcare costs for heart disease.

    Nationwide, obesity will cost employers $13 billion per year, reports the National Business Group on Health's (NBGH) Institute on the Costs and Health Effects of Obesity. In addition, NBGH says obesity is annually associated with 39 million lost work days, 239 million restricted-activity days and 63 million physician visits. (
  2. petsrme

    petsrme Member

    What really bothers me about the prejudices of obesity and thinking that these things may be caused by it is the fact that I was skinny when I got really sick. I weighed about 140 and I am 5'8". I had arthritis and back problems already for years. I already had scoliosis, carpal tunnel and TMJ. I also had joint pain and mucsle pain. I was diagnosed with Fibro in about 1996 and I was still thin then. Then in about 1997 or 98 I began to feel such overwhelming fatigue and pain that I stopped being able to do anything. I then proceeded to gain 60 plus pounds over next year. I have gained even more since.

    Then in 2000 I finally had elevated ANA levels and they said I probably have lupus too. They began treating me for it in May of 2000. I have such a hard time convincing people that my weight is not what caused my problems. The only ones who believe me are the ones who lived with me and saw me go from doing a lot to doing nothing.

    I think the weight gain of course has made my back pain a little worse and added stress on joints, but I already had bad pain and fatigue before I gained the weight. I can't really tell a difference. A lot of my doctors, especially the ones who didn't know me when I was thin think weight loss would help me get better. My rheumy doesn't say this though because he has read my charts and paid attention to the fact that I was thin when I started getting fatigued.
  3. natrlvr2

    natrlvr2 New Member

    For yrs. all I ever heard/read was have this condition because your are depressed or overweight.Took yrs. to get it acrossed to the Drs. that my condition "caused" my weight gain and depression.(my depression is minor and it is hereditary and my life was sucking)Another one are deconditioned that is why you are in pain.Jeez! When all the pain started I was a kid in school and in top shape,I was very athletic.
    I did just start losing weight(after a 100 lb. gain over the yrs.).Took me yrs. to get it acrossed to the Dr. that just eating right and exercising more was not going to do it.I finally got Xenical and I am already down 25 lbs.
  4. RxAngel

    RxAngel New Member

    Don't EVEN get me started on them - if obesity is factor w/FMS, then why, at my worst, am I 5'8", did I get down to 110 lbs? I looked liked I was near death (I may have been).

    By the way, before you get to riled up, google Unum, and the first thing that pops up are the class action lawsuits being filed against them for denying and harassing valid disability claims. I should know, they are my private carrier.

    This article is all a marketing technique devised to deflect attention away from them and onto the conditions themselves.

    I should be careful, as I am getting paid right now, and if Big Brother ever finds my posts against them, they would yank my checks, and I would never be able to prove why, and my user name is not exactly anonymous.

    Go Unum!

  5. gnanny

    gnanny New Member

    It shames me to think that others look at me and make the assumption if I just lost weight I would feel better. I was close to normal weight before all these meds, hormone changes, pain and inactivity took its toll and add about 20 lbs a year. You do the math, it aint pretty.
  6. mhammie

    mhammie New Member

    Totally right about companies trying to blame all weight issues on the patient.

    Feel worse now then I have in the last 4 years, even though I lost 50lbs. in the last 2 years.

    Few years ago, mother diagnosed with fibro. Down to size 3 or smaller. Dr's put her on prendisone. Did nothing for the pain. Gained around 60+lbs. Doctors didn't monitor her as they should have. She finely weaned herself off the med and has lost some of the weight. If I remember correctly this med does make people gain weight. However, the Dr. is the one to have prescribed this, and the insurance companies probably do not factor this into obseity issues.
  7. tansy

    tansy New Member

    but I doubt it has much to do with these DDs where weight problems (over or under) tend to occur after their onset.

    "Obesity warning to nation"

    The Press Association

    Friday August 25

    Millions more adults and children will be obese by 2010 unless dramatic action is taken to halt the trend, figures showed.

    A third of adults and a fifth of all children will be obese, leading to greater suffering from cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. More than 12 million adults and one million children are expected to be obese, with millions more overweight.

    The Government said it was working to tackle the issue, but the Tories branded Labour's track record "woeful".

    The figures, published in the Department of Health's Forecasting Obesity to 2010 report, showed that 22% of girls and 19% of boys aged between two and 15 will be obese by 2010. Those figures are up on the 16% of girls and 17% of boys recorded as obese in 2003.

    A third (33%) of all men will be obese - rising from 4.3 million in 2003 to 6.66 million in 2010. And 28% of women will be obese - rising from 4.75 million in 2003 to 5.98 million in 2010.

    As a result of the figures, the Government looks set to miss its target to halt the year-on-year rise in obesity among under 11s by 2010.

    Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the Government was taking action, but urged people to look after themselves.
    "We've already stepped in to try and slow this worrying trend, but there's only so much the Government can do.
    "People need to want to change their lifestyles and take responsibility for their health - before they face problems in later life such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes or cancer.

    "Government and the NHS will support people in leading healthier lives, but ultimately it is each individual's choice that counts."

  8. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Expose of the Food Industry and the evidence that casien and cheese could have small amounts of a morphine like substance by Orlando Sentinel (Florida) -Opiates hide inside casein, the main dairy protein. As casein molecules are digested, they break apart to release tiny opiate molecules, called casomorphins.

    Orlando Sentinel (Florida)July 13, 2003 Sunday,


    Neal D. Barnard, Special to the Sentinel

    Have you ever had a serious binge on cookies or cake? Or an impulse-driven feast at the candy machine? Perhaps a nosedive into a cheese-laden monster burger that left you bloated and regretful?

    If so, it may not have been your fault -- or at least not yours alone. When it comes to dietary indiscretions, scientists are now pointing the finger of blame in a surprising direction. Binges and even serious food addictions are not caused by weak willpower, a bad childhood or an oral personality. New evidence shows they are triggered by the foods, themselves. That is to say, certain foods spark the release of chemicals within the brain that make us feel good, stimulate our appetites, and push us to consume them again and again.

    Disturbingly, it also appears that the food industry has known about these effects all along and, in fact, has been working hard to concoct foods that reduce our resistance to rubble.

    Some food addictions are no secret, of course. Chocolate addiction has been described in psychiatric journals for years. Chocolate not only contains caffeine, theobromine and other mild stimulants; it also triggers the release of opiates within the brain that ensure that the first cookie out of the bag will never be the last. But chocolate is not the only devil lurking in the pantry. Studies suggest that sugar, cheese and meat have drug-like effects, too.

    Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore zeroed in on sugar in the early 1990s, finding that it clearly influences brain function in infants as young as one to two days of age. The researchers dribbled tiny amounts of sugar water into babies' mouths, finding that it made them cry noticeably less and blunted their reactions to the heel sticks used to draw blood samples, while plain water did nothing.

    What is happening is this: As sugar touches the tongue, the taste buds send a nerve impulse to the brain, causing opiates to be released. In turn, these opiates trigger the release of dopamine, the brain's ultimate pleasure chemical. In contrast to healthy infants, babies born to drug-addicted mothers show none of these reactions, presumably because they have been bathing in opiates throughout their nine months of prenatal development.

    Of all the potentially addicting foods, cheese may be the most complex. In research studies using vegan and vegetarian diets to control cholesterol or reduce body weight, most participants soon forget the lure of ice cream, sour cream, and even burgers and chicken. But for many people, the taste for cheese lingers on and on. Yes, 70 percent of its calories may come from waist-augmenting fat, and, ounce for ounce, it may harbor more cholesterol than a steak. But that cheese habit is tough to break.

    Why is cheese so addicting? Certainly not because of its aroma, which is perilously close to old socks. The first hint of a biochemical explanation came in 1981, when scientists at Wellcome Research Laboratories in Research Triangle Park, N.C., found a substance in dairy products that looked remarkably like morphine. After a complex series of tests, they determined that, surprisingly enough, it actually was morphine. By a fluke of nature, the enzymes that produce opiates are not confined to poppies -- they also hide inside cows' livers. So traces of morphine can pass into the animal's bloodstream and end up in milk and milk products. The amounts are far too small to explain cheese's appeal. But nonetheless, the discovery led scientists on their search for opiate compounds in dairy products.

    And they found them. Opiates hide inside casein, the main dairy protein. As casein molecules are digested, they break apart to release tiny opiate molecules, called casomorphins. One of these compounds has about one-tenth the opiate strength of morphine. The especially addicting power of cheese may be due to the fact that the process of cheese-making removes water,lactose and whey proteins so that casein is concentrated. Scientists are now trying to tease out whether these opiate molecules work strictly within the digestive tract or whether they pass into the bloodstream and reach the brain directly.

    So why aren't we all addicted to chocolate or cheese? Apparently, foods affect different people differently. Women tend to be more attracted to sweets, especially chocolate. Men are more likely to consider meat their indispensable food. A recent survey found that one in four would not give up meat for a week, even if they were paid $1,000 to do it. It may be loaded with cholesterol and fat, and cardiologists may plead for moderation, but for many men, meat is the last food they would ever want to give up. That sort of response strongly suggests that we are dealing with more than preference, and are likely touching on an addiction.

    Could an opiate effect be the reason why meat can be so addicting? Mounting evidence says yes. In some of the most telling studies, researchers give opiate-blocking drugs to volunteers and then measure their effects on food intake. Naloxone, for example, is used in emergency rooms to treat drug overdoses. It blocks the opiate receptors in the brain and stops the life-threatening effects of heroin or morphine. When this opiate-blocker is given to a dedicated meat lover, meat loses a sizable part of its appeal.

    The same appears to be true for chocolate, sugar and cheese, adding further evidence that what keeps us hooked on these foods is not just their taste or mouth-feel but, rather, specific chemical effects within the brain.

    These druglike effects of certain foods helped scientists explain why we might like a juicy apple, an orange, a banana or a bowl of cherries, but we never made a late-night run to a convenience store to buy them. These foods lack the opiate action that keeps you hooked. But sugar, chocolate, cheese and meat are a different story. We like fruit; we crave chocolate.

    None of this is news to the food industry. The chocolate industry has manipulated its products' nutrient content for decades in hopes of overpowering your resolve, finding that chocolate bars reach maximal irresistibility when cocoa butter and sugar are mixed about 50-50, on a per-calorie basis. You may spend 89 cents on a candy bar, but it took millions upon millions of dollars of research and discipline-defeating promotion to waggle that combination of sugar and fat in front of your taste buds.

    The cheese industry is miles ahead of them, having gone to great lengths to identify people who are most vulnerable to addiction. It dubs them "cheese cravers," and tracks their age, educational level and other demographics so as to target them with marketing strategies that are tough to ignore. With a $200 million annual research and marketing budget, the dairy industry is not content to have you just sprinkling a little mozzarella on your salad. It is looking for those Americans who will eat it straight out of the package, whatever the cost to their waistlines or cholesterol levels.

    At a "Cheese Forum" held Dec. 5, 2000, Dick Cooper, the vice president of Cheese Marketing for Dairy Management Inc., laid out the industry's scheme for identifying potential addicts and keeping them hooked. In his slide presentation, which was released to our organization under the Freedom of Information Act, he asked the question, "What do we want our marketing program to do?" and then gave the answer: "Trigger the cheese craving." He described how, in a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the dairy industry launched Wendy's Cheddar Lover's Bacon Cheeseburger, which single-handedly pushed 2.25 million pounds of cheese during the promotion period. That works out to 380 tons of fat and 1.2 tons of pure cholesterol in the cheese alone.

    A similar promotion with Pizza Hut launched the "Ultimate Cheese Pizza," which added an entire pound of cheese to a single pizza and sold five million pounds of it during a six-week promotion in 2000. The presentation concluded with a cartoon of a playground slide with a large spider web woven to trap children as they reached the bottom. The caption had one spider saying to another, "If we pull this off, we'll eat like kings."

    So shall we say no to the chocolate hawkers, cheese pushers, sugar dealers, and steak mongers? Well, evidence shows that breaking bad food habits is a resoundingly good idea. People who set aside high-calorie foods slim down significantly. If they have diabetes or hypertension, these conditions improve. Men who avoid dairy products have about one-third less prostate cancer risk, compared to men who consume them frequently, and those who avoid meat cut their colon-cancer risk by two-thirds.

    For many, the question is not whether to break habits, but how.

    Luckily, recognizing that food habits are like other addictions helps us understand what it takes to win the battle. Willpower was never much of a match for seriously bad food habits, and moderation is generally useless. Just as it is easier to quit smoking than to "cut down," it is far easier to set aside a troublesome food entirely than to tease yourself with "reasonable" amounts of it on a daily basis.

    Addiction experts also focus on the short term, aiming to wean you away from a bad habit for a day, a week, or a month at most, but not demanding any long-term commitments that would seem overly daunting. We can further attack food cravings by specifically choosing foods that steady your blood sugar, being sure to eat enough foods to prevent the hunger that accentuates cravings, and, most importantly, learning about healthier choices that satisfy the taste buds while luring you away from unhealthy temptations. My research team uses these techniques routinely as we guide people back to health.

    How are food manufacturers reacting to the new science of food addictions? Not with mea culpas or a new line of organic produce, unfortunately. Instead, they are circling the wagons. Anticipating that health advocates will pound them with lawsuits, just as they did the tobacco industry, they have called on Congress to ban such actions. On June 19, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the "Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act," which would bar citizens from suing producers of products that contributed to obesity-related disorders. Food industry lobbyists are now working the bill on Capitol Hill.

    Health advocates call the measure premature at best. The full range of the industry's efforts to create and sustain addictions is not yet known. So while many people were understandably skeptical of the fast-food lawsuits filed last summer on behalf of obese and diabetic fast-food customers, many health advocates have been uneasy about giving industry a blanket exemption from liability.

    Meanwhile, the government continues to track statistics showing that more than 65 percent of American adults are now overweight, that Type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed in younger and younger age groups, and that the artery damage that eventually leads to heart disease is now routinely found in high school children. The new science of addiction may show, if nothing else, just how hard these problems will be to tackle.

    Source –
    [This Message was Edited on 08/25/2006]
  9. justlooking

    justlooking New Member

    that there are still people stating that FM is as a result of being overweight.
    I have never been overweight and as a matter of fact I am the thinnest I've ever been in my life since becoming ill. Right now I weigh 99lbs at 5'6".

    Being overweight is certainly NOT the cause of FM that is Ridiculous!

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