In 2018, Americans spent $3.67 Trillion on healthcare, amounting to 19.5% of GDP, up from 5.2% of GDP in 1960. It might not be such a bitter pill if Americans were becoming correspondingly healthier over time. But we’re not. Everyone knows that despite our hefty increases in spending over the decades, we’ve also become heftier ourselves, causing our health to deteriorate.
Essentially, we’re not eating right nor getting enough exercise, which has led us to become fat. And it’s not just the disadvantaged classes who have weight problems. Laziness and bad eating habits pervade society, from the rich (about 1/3 are obese) to the poor (almost half are obese). In fact, our bad habits (poor diet, inactivity, and smoking) contribute to 8 of the 10 top causes of death (2/3 of all deaths) in the US (see Figure 1).
What’s so tough about being healthy that so many of us have so much trouble with it?