Americans are getting better at dying. According to a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy decreased last year by about one month. This is the first time this has happened since 1993.
Heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, dementia, diabetes, kidney disease and suicide all saw their death rates increase. It’s not isolated to a single group either, every subgroup saw their death rates rise. Alone among the top ten, only cancer saw its death rate drop, and this was a measly 1.7% reduction.
“But,” you say, “this is after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. This is after more than 30 million Americans have gotten access to health care.”
Extension of pills to more Americans didn’t move the health of Americans much at all. If anything it led to more deaths. We have now run an almost 40 year-long experiment to see how many pills we can give to a huge number of people and it doesn’t seem to be working at all.
Yes, there are minor improvements in small areas, but the fact is that 90-95% of all chronic diseases (the ones we listed above) are caused by lifestyle.
The vast majority of the lifestyle changes people need to stay healthy are easy to understand.
Eat better food; not processed or fatty food, but plant-based, unprocessed food. Exercise regularly. Spend time with friends and family. Take time to de-stress yourself. Don’t smoke or drink.
You won’t hear that from the news. They are too busy giving you another recipe for lamb.
You aren’t likely to hear it from your doctor. Most doctors haven’t been taught this information.
You will have to be the one to fix the problem.
When nobody wore seat belts, it wasn’t doctors who convinced people to wear them. When everyone smoked cigarettes, it wasn’t doctors who convinced them to quit. The changes have to come from people who have had enough convincing themselves and convincing their friends and families.