WAYS May 2002
Sharon Smith 888-217-5016
call or email TODAY -- START LOSING WEIGHT FOR THE LAST TIME! Not a diet, but a weight management
ASK ME HOW – I can help with Arthritis or other
special needs products.
May is national Arthritis
You owe it to yourself to understand how the joints in
your body work, how those joints can be affected by arthritis, and what you
can do to slow down or prevent joint damage. Take a true/false quiz to find
out how much you know.
Arthritis affects nearly 43 million Americans, roughly one American in six.
Based on predictions of population growth, in 2020 an estimated 60 million
Americans will have some form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most
common type; it affects more than 20 million Americans. An estimated 2.1
million people, about 1% of all American adults, have rheumatoid arthritis
What common risk factors determine who gets arthritis, be it OA, RA, or
risk of developing arthritis depends on your age. Arthritis is the leading
cause of physical disability among adults 18 years of age and older, with OA
being the most common form of arthritis in this age group
·Gender. In general, arthritis
occurs more frequently in women than in men. Before age 45, OA occurs more
frequently in men; after age 45, OA is more common in women. RA also occurs
much more frequently in women than in men. About two to three times as many
women as men have RA.
·Obesity. Obesity increases the chances of getting OA,
particularly for women. There is a clear link between obesity and the
development of OA of the knee in women. Diet
and exercise can help with weight control and
minimize the stress on weight-bearing joints, such as your knees
·Work factors. Work-related
repetitive injury and physical trauma contribute to the development of OA. If
you have a strenuous job that requires repetitive bending, kneeling, or
squatting, you are at high risk for OA of the knee.You may want to explore
the options for minimizing the effects of arthritis
in the workplace.
What is Osteoarthritis? http://www.arthritis.com/1_1.asp
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? http://www.arthritis.com/1_2.asp
Managing Arthritis Pain http://www.arthritis.com/3_0.asp
Copyright 2002 Associated Press
April 2, 2002 Tuesday
SECTION: WASHINGTON DATELINE
LENGTH: 588 words
HEADLINE: IRS Recognizes Obesity As a Disease
BYLINE: CURT ANDERSON; AP Tax Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Overweight Americans now have a new pocketbook reason
to shed some pounds. Recognizing obesity as a disease, the IRS says
it will begin allowing taxpayers to claim weight loss expenses as a
``It really opens the gate for everybody to be at a
healthier weight. America really needs to wake up,'' said Linda Webb
Carilli, a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers International Inc.
Apart from the tax break, the Internal Revenue Service ruling could
pave the way for insurance companies and such government programs as
Medicare to offer coverage for obesity treatment, experts say. Now, it
is usually considered a symptom or precursor to some other disease.
``It legitimizes an important area that's been on the
fringe,'' said Morgan Downey, executive director of the nonprofit
American Obesity Association.
Taxpayers have been able to deduct the costs of weight loss
programs as a medical expense since 2000 only if they were
recommended by a doctor to treat a specific disease. Obesity
itself was not recognized by the IRS as an ailment that qualified for
the weight loss expense deduction.
Tuesday's ruling qualifies obesity itself as a disease. `It's going to help a lot of people,''
Downey said. ``Most of the services are not covered by insurance and they
can be fairly expensive.''
There is mounting evidence that obesity takes a huge toll on the
nation's health. In 1998, the National Institutes of Health estimated that 97
million adult Americans were
overweight or obese; the Obesity Association estimates that
300,000 unnecessary deaths a year can be attributed to
Obesity is defined by the federal government as excessive mass for a
given person's height. Some
examples: a 5-foot-5 person is considered obese at 180 pounds; for a 6-foot
person, 221 pounds is listed as obese.
Obese people are at heightened risk of high blood pressure,
diabetes, heart disease, stroke, several types of cancer and gall
bladder disease. A social stigma also is frequently attached to being
extremely overweight, the Obesity Association noted.
The IRS ruling cited this growing body of research,
including a recent World Health Organization finding, for why it now
believes ``obesity is medically accepted to be a disease in its own
To take the deduction, a taxpayer will have to participate in a
weight-loss program for medically valid reasons. Simply joining
a gym or a weight control program to ``improve the taxpayer's
appearance, general health and sense of well-being'' and not under a
physician's guidance will not qualify, the IRS said.
Also not deductible are diet foods, even if they are an integral
part of the weight loss plan. The IRS reasons that people have to pay
for their food whether or not they are trying to lose weight.
The deduction comes in the area of medical expenses, which must
in total exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income and can only be taken by
taxpayers who itemize their deductions.
The ruling applies not only to 2001 income tax returns -- which are
due April 15 in most of the country -- but as far back as 1998. Taxpayers
who want to take a deduction for past expenses need only file an
amended return for the tax year in question.
The IRS has included smoking cessation programs as deductible
medical expenses, as well as treatment and other costs related to alcoholism.
IRS Publication 502 has the details on the medical deduction.