BY HALEY LUCIAN '17
As the results of the Nov. 8 presidential election settle in, we begin to look ahead at days to come. Often the most productive period for an American president is their first 100 days in office. Using the momentum of the election, a newly elected president will often pass several initiatives rapidly and lay a general foundation for later policies. But from what we know, president-elect Donald Trump’s policies are severely lacking in detail.
While there is still the opportunity, in these months before Jan. 20, 2017, to shed light on health issues forgotten during the election, it is imperative to remind people about issues that were nearly absent from discussion during the campaign leading up to Election Day. In some ways, people may feel the election results are enough to deal with at the moment, but there are seemingly small issues that warrant attention before complacency sets in and new policy takes shape.
One issue largely left out of the debate between the candidates during their campaigns was the difficulties caused by increasing antibiotics resistance. Not only is this a situation for the United States, but it also affects many global populations, making it both a national and international issue. Secretary Clinton’s official campaign website specifically states that she has worked to eliminate the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in farm animals. President-elect Trump’s official campaign website does not offer any details at all on the subject.
Two weeks ago, the health and science section ran an article on rising sexually transmitted infections in the United States. In particular, the article mentioned that the STI gonorrhea has developed exceedingly difficult strains to treat due to antibiotic resistance, leaving only one recommended treatment. At a time when STIs and antibiotic resistance are rising, this election would have been a wholly appropriate time to cover a topic that, according to the CDC, affects millions of Americans. It is now the responsibility of president-elect Trump to address many other issues, and many more like it, in the days to come. Continuing to disregard health issues would not only be dangerous to the American and global public, but would also be irresponsible from a global leader.
Another forgotten health issue on the campaign trail was the growing obesity epidemic in America. According to the CDC, more than a third of Americans are considered medically obese. Now officially an epidemic, with no coordinated national plan in practice, obesity still seems to only intermittently crop up on newsfeeds, and it missed the docket almost completely during this election cycle. Secretary Clinton makes mention of the issue, albeit briefly, on the Clinton Foundation website, but only to agree that there is a problem. Donald Trump’s only public association with the issue of obesity is of a personal nature, when the American public got a brief glimpse, via television personality Dr. Oz, into Trump’s health. From the little we did learn from this interview, president-elect Trump is overweight and nearly obese himself.
Since the condition of obesity, according to the CDC, is correlated with numerous serious health implications, including heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, it is not illogical to say that we are truly damaging ourselves as a population. The last estimate in 2008 put the annual treatment cost of obesity in the United States at $147 billion.
While these issues are just two of the many topics forgotten and dismissed throughout this election cycle, they are important to think about. The American public must insist that our government does not continue to keep “small” issues such as these off the national stage. For that matter, let us stay energized to become and stay informed on similar health and science issues not covered in this most recent election cycle.