I recently came across a very interesting article that described a research study conducted in 1993 by McGinnis and Foege titled Actual Causes of Death in the United States. The two doctors looked into the factors that accounted for the leading chronic diseases of our times. The leading causes of death in America (and in Europe, including Malta) are heart disease, stroke and cancer. However, what the doctors wanted to figure out was the actual factors that led to these three causes of death that cost over 800,000 people their lives every year in the United States alone. (yes, every year!)
After investigating and crunching the numbers, they came up with a very important discovery:
People who ate well, exercise routinely, avoided tobacco, and controlled their alcohol intake had an 80% lower probability across their entire life span of developing ANY major chronic disease- heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, dementia, etc.- than those who smoked, ate badly, didn’t exercise, and lost control of their weight.
Therefore, if you examine your own lifestyle habits, what are YOUR risks of developing these diseases? Are you in the 80% or 20% risk category?
Think about it: If you had to board an aircraft with a defect that gave it an 80% chance of crashing, would you take that flight? I am sure you wouldn’t. Yes many of us take our inactivity and bad diet for granted, and many smoke and drink too much. It’s like they are ready to board that aeroplane destined to crash.
Don’t let this happen to you!
We could, as a culture, eliminate 80% of all chronic disease. But we cannot keep on waiting and procrastinating to take action to change. By taking matters into our own hands, we can lose weight and find health right now. We can reduce our personal risk of chronic disease, and that of the people we love, by that very same 80%. We can make our lives not just longer, but better.
What really kills us prematurely, and all too often imposes years of misery beforehand, isn’t a list of chronic diseases, but the factors that cause those diseases. What really kills us is the failure to turn what we know and have long known, into what we do. We can change that, and substantially disease-proof ourselves and those we love, any time we’re ready. I hope that’s now, because waiting is really killing us. And if you can’t do it alone, get help!