PREVENTING ILLNESS vs THE “FIX IT” HEALTH CARE BUSINESS

The human body is designed to be healthy on its own. If we took care of our bodies as well as we do our motor vehicles and airplanes, we’d have less than half the illness and healthcare expenses than we have now. That remaining half would occur mostly in the latter years of our lives after 70. If this sounds crazy to you, here’s the proof.

OTHER CULTURES

The older Japanese Okinawans have about 20% the breast, 20% the prostate and 30% the colon cancer rates that Americans have. Similar differences show up across the board for arthritis, heart disease and many other illnesses. They also have the highest rate of centenarians in the world. Disease rates for Japanese mainlanders are very similar, but a little higher.

Tragically, the younger Okinawans have adopted the American lifestyle. Fast food chains like McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King litter the landscape. They eat the refined carbohydrates like white bread, cake, cookies and drink soda. They no longer follow the traditional lifestyle.

Younger Okinawans today have the highest level of illnesses in all of Japan. The traditional Okinawan elders often have to bury their children and grand children.

The deterioration of the younger Okinawans in Okinawa is similar to Japanese who move to the U.S. When they adopt the American lifestyle, they develop all the higher rates of illnesses that Americans have.

These show that it is not Japanese genes, but lifestyle factors like diet, physical activity and emotional wellbeing that make them far healthier than Americans including Japanese Americans.

Many other cultures around the world also have sharply lower rates for illnesses. Subcultures in the U.S. like the Amish and Seventh day Adventists who have a better lifestyle are much healthier.

While we do have studies on the healthier lifestyles of diet, emotional health and physical activity, they are little known. Too many still believe that sickness is just bad luck.

We are also bombarded from childhood with advertising for all the things that are making us sick. The oldest baby boomers are the first generation to consume so many sugary breakfast cereals, candy bars and sodas. Is it any wonder we are far heavier with far more diabetes and other illnesses than our parents’ generation? Fruits are the only sweets that are really foods and should be eaten on a regular basis. How much are they advertised?

We have an out of control money making “fix it” medical system. There is almost no money in prevention so it is not taught in medical schools. What gets by as “preventive” medicine is little more that screening for illnesses after they start.

“IF IT TASTES GOOD IT MUST BE GOOD“-WRONG!

Almost everything advertised to eat or drink, you would be better off minimizing or doing without . These include many high profit items that can hardly be called food like:

Potato chips, sugary cereals, pretzels, candy bars, cakes, cookies, soda and just about anything else sweet that isn’t a fruit.

Meats sold in America contain antibiotics, and growth hormones, to fatten up livestock quickly. This helps explain why about a third of the U.S. are obese and another third overweight.  Beyond weight gain what other illnesses might be connected to these added chemicals? The European Union will not allow importing American beef for these reasons.

There is no advertising warning about the harmful effects of these products. There is minimal advertising for the healthy things to eat or drink. Cigarettes do have warning labels. Edibles containing sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc should have similar warning labels that these contribute to obesity and other things. Don’t count on those industries allowing that. Our elected representatives are well paid with campaign contributions.

THE BASIC HEALTH FACTS OF LIFE

The American lifestyle of poor diet, emotional stress and lack of physical activity go against our body’s natural ability to stay healthy. What we do to our bodies is like not changing our car’s oil and then having the rings, valves and engine blocks replaced.

Our bodies need vitamins, minerals and other nutrients every day. We must minimize or avoid low nutrient sugary and refined carbohydrates. (Note: Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates, but are not refined). Eating low nutrient “foods” is just adding calories.

Lack of physical activity is like allowing rust to start and letting it corrode our bodies. Physical activity not only burns calories, it relieves stress and depression. You should not even sit for more than 45 minutes without getting up, walking and stretching.  Physical activity is anything that is not laying down, standing still or sitting. You don’t have to lift weights or jog!

Emotional disharmony is caused by lack of community, stress and the other two factors mentioned above. These cause sleep problems, and bad habits like smoking, nibbling unhealthy snacks and drinking problems. Emotional illness raises the risk of heart attacks and more.

SAVING OURSELVES

There are far better healthcare systems than the U.S. for half the cost per person and they cover everyone. Even these types would have a tough time dealing with so many unhealthy Americans. This is getting worse. For example, Type 2 diabetes used to be called “Adult onset diabetes” because it started showing up after 40 years of age and increased in later years. Today, kids under 10 are developing it. Imagine how unhealthy they will be decades from now.  How much suffering will there be? Who is going to pay for it? Do we have a national death wish?

We cut cigarette smoking substantially and put restrictions on second hand smoke. We can and must do the same to sugary items and refined carbohydrates. We must rediscover the joys and health of physical activity.

FUTURE POSTINGS:

  • More details on the three areas for staying healthy.

  • Causes and prevention of specific illnesses.

  • “Fix it” procedures that make big money, but are overused or of no use at all.

  • More analysis of healthier populations.

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