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A rant about health in America

29 April 2018

It’s en vogue to talk about what’s wrong with America these days, but I’ve found that amidst all the chatter something very fundamental often gets overlooked.

We are, as a nation, very unhealthy.

The numbers are clear.

More than two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese.

Nine percent of Americans have diabetes.

29 percent of American adults have high blood pressure.

Half of American adults have chronic health conditions, conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and obesity.

If you are a healthy American, you are in the minority.

The thing that gets me is: All this stuff is completely preventable.

This is straight from the CDC’s website: “Eighty-six percent of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.” That’s $2.32 trillion.

While people say that health care costs a lot in the United States and, while it does, so many of those costs could be reduced or eliminated without policy changes.

If you don’t smoke, you won’t lung cancer. Well you still could, but the risk is greatly reduced.

If you don’t eat junk, you’re much less likely to get a chronic health condition.

To explain the state of things, people talk about the environment, how there’s unhealthy food everywhere, how are communities are tailored towards driving instead of walking, biking, and mass transit, etc. They talk about how hard it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle because of how the country is, but something that gets lost is that we created all of these environments. They didn’t spring up out of thin air, we decided to build them.

We’re doing this to ourselves.

“You are what you eat” doesn’t just apply to people, it applies to communities and nations.

I’m opining, but I can’t help but wonder how many of the issues our nation is dealing with now are caused at least in part by our diets. Both the food we put into our bodies and the information we put into our minds.

My Dad always tells me “without your health, you don’t have anything.” Good health is the foundation of good work and good relationships. If you’re tired, irritated, sluggish, and have health issues, will you be able to put 100% into your career? Will you be able to give your best self to your key relationships? The answer is no.

If we can’t even keep ourselves healthy, what does that say about us? We have all this money, but we can’t even keep ourselves in decent condition?

It seems to me that our priorities are out of line.