Shantanu Gaur has been inspired and driven by his parents, brilliant and independent-thinking immigrants from India. When it came time to choose between a career as a physician or as an entrepreneur, his mathematician father helped him calculate how many people he could help and what would happen if he failed.
As co-founder and CEO of Allurion Technologies, Shantanu has helped develop and launch balloons –not into the sky but into the stomach– where they help patients feel full and lose weight. The product is on the market in Europe and the Middle East, and there are plans for the US and China as well.
Allurion is succeeding where other weight loss balloons have failed. The company’s balloons can be swallowed and filled in an office visit –not an operating room– and are paired with nutritional counseling and a digital support system.
Today’s middle-aged adults (50-64) are much fatter and more likely to have diabetes than their predecessors from 15 years ago. Obesity is up 25 percent, diabetes 55 percent and the percentage reporting being in very good or excellent health declined by 9 percent, according to the latest America’s Health Rankings Senior Report from the United Health Foundation.
At the state level, some of the changes were far more dramatic. Prevalence of diabetes among middle-aged Coloradans is up 138 percent, while obesity rates in Arizona are up by 96 percent.
The report warns that today’s middle-aged cohort is on track for an expensive and unhealthy experience when they hit the ranks of seniors by 2030.
The news isn’t all bleak. My home state of Massachusetts is rated the healthiest for seniors in the latest report (overtaking Vermont). Seniors here have become more physically active; many have stopped smoking. On the negative side the rate of flu vaccination dropped in Massachusetts. (Maybe it has something to do with the vaccine’s recent lack of effectiveness — I got the flu vaccine and the flu this past season.)
As usual, this year’s report is chock full of statistics and insights, with a variety of national indicators and state-by-state comparisons. And no surprise, the Southern states remain the unhealthiest –with Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia bringing up the rear.
It’s not too late for middle-aged Americans to improve their health and well-being. Reports like this may spur individuals, governments and private sector players into action. For the sake of seniors-to-be and the country as a whole, I sure hope it happens.