While much of our attention during the past two years has focused on the pandemic when it comes to public health, there is a big elephant in the room when it comes to the global public health crisis that is stretching health budgets and affecting economic productivity in nearly every country.
Most of the common diseases such as obesity, diabetes 2, and several cancer forms are preventable and caused by lifestyle choices made on a daily basis. But why are we not addressing the obvious?
Just because a close family member has died from a terminal illness does not mean that you will at some point in your life suffer from the same condition. There is overwhelming evidence that lifestyle choices have a far greater impact on your overall health and longevity than genetics.
In the United States, the adult obesity rate for the first time in 2020 surpassed the 40 percent mark – an increase of 26 percent since 2008.
Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). About 13 percent of the world’s adult population was listed as obese in 2016, and the tragedy is that it’s affecting more and more children from an early age.
It is just not talked about, but Covid-19 was particularly lethal in persons suffering from obesity and diabetes 2. The risk factor was significantly higher, even in persons who were moderately overweight.
In Obesity Reviews, an international team of researchers pooled data from scores of peer-reviewed papers capturing 399,000 patients. They found that people with obesity who contracted SARS-CoV-2 were 113% more likely than people of healthy weight to land in the hospital, 74% more likely to be admitted to an ICU, and 48% more likely to die.
Do you want to live to see your grandchildren grow up?
Our modern-day lifestyle choices are reducing the quality of life on multiple levels and will determine whether you can still see your grandchildren growing up. The economic costs of unhealthy diets and lack of exercise are astronomical, and we are all paying for it in some way. In the United States, medical costs for diabetes alone were put at 176 billion dollars in 2012, with productivity loss estimated at 69 billion dollars.
Poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle choices are mainly responsible for obesity and other metabolic diseases. This is increasing absenteeism at the workplace and forcing people into early retirement, mostly with much lower pensions had they been able to work to full retirement age. Expertise is lost and productivity is affected.
You simply won’t be enjoying life as much as you could be by neglecting your health. You won’t be having the energy to fulfill your purpose and your dreams.
“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos- the trees, the clouds, everything,” according to the great Buddhist teacher Thich Nath Hanh.
The three main triggers of poor health are diet, lack of exercise, and a high-stress factor. If you eat mainly low nutrient processed foods with high sugar content you will feel fatigued and have a low motivation to exercise. This in turn affects the biochemistry in the body that influences your emotions and mental health. The bottom line: When you eat the right foods and exercise moderately you will have a higher resilience in dealing with the daily stresses of life.
How you feel affects your emotions and your emotions or thoughts determine the quality of your life.
But why do most of us not do the things that would make the quality of our lives so much better?
A study by the University of British Columbia appears to show that humans are intrinsically lazy because our brains are simply wired in such a way that we make choices on the basis of what is most comfortable.
The brain is innately attracted to sedentary behavior because “conserving energy has been essential for humans’ survival, as it allowed us to be more efficient in searching for food and shelter, competing for sexual partners, and avoiding predators,” according to Matthieu Boisgontier, a postdoctoral researcher at UBC and senior author of the study.
The challenge, therefore, is to trick the brain away from behavior that has been programmed for generations by reframing the mindset.
You can tell yourself that the pain of suffering from a debilitating disease and poor health is greater than going out each day for a moderate walk in the woods. My body will feel and perform much better if I avoid that soda or so-called “energy drink”.
The nutrients from fresh produce and organic foods keep the biochemistry in my body at a level that makes me feel so much better – both physically and emotionally.
We need to apply more pressure on our governments to pass legislation, forcing the big food corporations to be transparent about what ingredients they put in our foods. A sugar tax could force companies to look for healthier alternatives.
However, first and foremost you have an individual responsibility not only to yourself and your destiny but also to your loved ones. They want you to be around as long as possible.
Few things in life come free of charge. What you invest in time, effort, action, and choice determine the outcome.
Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker
P.S. You can still join our 42-day walking challenge. Walk 8,000 steps a day and keep a gratitude journal
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