“Kids today …” It’s impossible to think of a generation of adults in the past century or more that hasn’t uttered this phrase at one time or another. A segment of any decade’s adult population is bound to take a degree of umbrage with the culture and comportment of the young people they’re in the midst of raising.
However, the issues facing today’s youngest citizens of planet Earth aren’t restricted to song lyrics or things posted on social networking sites. A quick glance at the headlines on Google News reveals stories such as a New York Times piece on a reporter’s about-face over mental health treatment (a great read if you have a few minutes), an article from The Associated Press about misinformed paranoia over vaccinations, and a UPI release about childhood obesity.
The latter of the three stories is an interesting one to consider. The problem of childhood obesity receives its share of press in the United States. I won’t waste your time listing the numerous culprits for why the problem exists. Instead, I’d like to project a few years into the future when the obese children of today are members of the work force. If, as the UPI article suggests, scientists are able to detect the potential for heart disease in a 3-year-old, the child is likely to suffer from significant health problems as an adult.
Some people find it inhuman to tie a serious health issue such as obesity to dollars and cents, but the fact remains that a healthier work force is more productive and takes less sick time. Good health also lessens the impact on the health care system. While Congress toils over the shape and structure of health care, we have the potential right now to improve the health of the next generation. The missed school days of today could be the missed work days of tomorrow. For the sake of the people many executives will eventually manage, we’d be well served to act now. If the above links indicate anything, it’s that kids today have enough to worry about.
For an interesting take on how to fix health care, check out our summary of The Innovator’s Prescription