I came across an interesting article today tittled A Burger, Shake and Some Statins. Essentially the article says researchers have suggested making statins (a medication which lowers cholesterol levels in the blood and which is, apparently fairly harmless even in high doses) making these available at fast food restaurants.

Apparently, statins are very cheap and taking them can offset the increase in cardiovascular disease associated with eating the unhealthy meals offered in fast food restaurants.

So the next time you go for one of these..

They might offer you some of this on the side…

In a way, yes, this makes sense.  It’s something akin to giving someone a vaccination.  “Here, you are about to head into high cholesterol territory.  Take this… it will offer you some protection.”

However… I am torn.

I’m sort of equating it to the recent cigarette packaging laws.  You won’t find light cigarettes anymore.  Oh, they’re still out there, just renamed and without the mention of the product being light in any way.  See, putting light on the packaging makes consumers feel they aren’t as bad for you as regular cigarettes.

Isn’t this a bit of the same thing?  Handing out statins to patrons might make them feel as though the food they eat isn’t as harmful to them.  Sure, it’s LESS harmful to them, but it’s still not great.  You’re still going to want to keep these items to a once in a while (if ever) sort of thing.  Statins aren’t going to ensure you receive proper nutrition.  They’re not going to prevent you from gaining weight.  And they’re certainly not going to prevent you from teaching your children bad eating habits.

It’s a mixed message, for sure and in the end my stance is one of lowering the costs of medical care by prevention.  Sure, let’s give them statins because it will hopefully reduce the major cardiovascular diseases later.  Fine.

The part I really have issue with is the last paragraph where they say the money would be better spent on screening centers.

I.  Totally.  Disagree.

It jogs my memory of my post where I ranted about Ron Reagan saying something along the lines of “Why would we talk to them about fitness, let’s just get them outside and get them moving.”  Which, I heard as “Let’s toss them fatties outside and make them run until they’re thin!”

I feel many people who struggle with obesity are battling bad eating habits.  These are habits learned since childhood.  These habits make healthy food rather unpalatable.  (Come on, everyone knows that guy who pretty much only eats meat, potatoes and… maybe corn.)  I think a majority of these people are the ones being targeted with the statins and who would be found frequenting fast food restaurants in the first place.  (No, they’re not the only ones, just a larger percentage.)

So, wouldn’t this money be better spent on education and support?

I often cannot believe how much of my life I spent absolutely unaware of the calorie content of food.  I mean, I knew I ate too much but I didn’t understand how much I over ate.  Also, I truly would look at the amount of food I ate versus the amount of food my thinner friends would eat.  Very often I would eat less food.  I always felt cheated.  When I began eating healthier on a consistent basis, I began understanding why my thinner friends could eat so much.

I’ll be the first to admit I started eating healthier so I could consume more food.  Heck yeah!

I think the more we educate the public about food, the better off we are.

Or heck, how about kicking that money into some sort of subsidy so those who can’t usually afford fresh produce could buy that instead of the cheap refined carbs?

Chunking that money into screening would do nothing to prevent the problem.  It would only identify it before someone had a heart attack.   And, while that’s certainly worthwhile, I think a society which had more knowledge on the subject would have less of that all around anyway.

Just my two cents.

What do you think?