By Elly Spencer
Dr. Tyler Cooper, CEO of Cooper Aerobics Center, addressed the crisis of rising healthcare costs and decreasing recipients Thursday on campus.
Cooper said the problem surrounding out healthcare system comes from a nation wide lack of healthy lifestyle and rapidly increasing rates in obesity.
“We’re killing ourselves,” Cooper said. “We’re causing the problem ourselves.”
Cooper said because of the rise in obesity in America, especially amongst children, the U.S. has to spend excessive amounts of money on the healthcare system.
According to recent statistics, child and teenage obesity rates are at 33 percent, and the U.S. spends $190.2 billion annually on obesity related illnesses. Cooper said the key to bringing down the massive costs of healthcare nationally starts with prevention, and prevention starts with the nation’s younger generation.
“If we are healthier, we don’t need the healthcare,” Cooper said. “This starts with the young.”
John Engelhardt, dean of the School of Education, said he invited Cooper to speak in the Fall 2014 Distinguished Lecture Series because he believes everyone should hear the importance of good lifestyle habits.
“We want to get students, faculty and the general public the knowledge of health and education to make informed decisions on their healthcare,” Engelhardt said. “We’re very fortunate to have Dr. Cooper speaking.”
As a Baylor alumnus and member of the dean’s advisory council for the School of Education, Cooper said he cares greatly about the campus and the health habits of students and faculty. Cooper said it is important that college students learn as much as they can about their options, and getting on board with some form of care.
“Access to healthcare plays a huge part in out health,” Cooper said. “And education is directly linked to the outcomes of our health.”
Socioeconomics are a determinate in access and use of healthcare, he said.
Cooper said less educated people and lower income households are less likely to get access to healthcare. They are also less likely to be taught healthy habits.
Dr. Rodney Bowden, executive associate dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, also spoke at the lecture. He said education of grade level and college students was vital in maintaining a healthy country.
“Education plays a very important role in the understanding of health and wellness,” said Bowden.
College students’ health is directly affected by stress and tough financial situations.
“When I’m studying for finals and feeling panicked, I’m not thinking about healthy eating habits,” said Round Rock senior Sam Hughes. “I’m a medical humanities major and I still put those things in the back of my mind during stressful times.”
Cooper said a stronger foundation for health will greatly alter the success of the America’s economy, and that with a healthier society, America can focus its spending on other issues.