Thursday, November 29, 2007

Health Care and Longevity

Americans are living longer now than ever before in our history. The average life expectancy is now about 78 years based on the most recent information available from the National Center on Health Statistics. A number of factors has caused this increase to happen. Over the past 100 years, the increase has been a net gain of 30 years for the average person in the U.S. and continues to get better over time. Some reasons contributing to this advancement in aging have been due to improvements in sanitation and nutrition, and there have been improvements in medicine, health care, economics, and lifestyle.

However, in the past few years we have seen a proliferation of health care cases that are a direct result of unhealthy habits in eating choices and lifestyle issues. Obesity and other medical problems in Americans are now more frequent due to poor choices in diet and lack of physical exercise. Often there are cultural, economic, or demographic reasons for these poor choices. Typically, lower income Americans suffer with shorter life spans due to medical issues brought on by poor nutrition, and the resulting problems are further compounded by lack of preventive care.

Americans need to change their attitude about lifestyle choices. Eating junk food and sustaining a high caloric intake is definitely not good for a healthy body. Never going to the health club or having a personal exercise plan is not a wise way to live. Expect to get fat and unfit, and look forward to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a host of other diseases that will slowly kill you over time. Imagine lying in a hospital bed or an emergency room after you have just had a heart attack because you have been eating burgers and fries every day at your favorite fast food joint. Think about those tubes protruding out of you because your breathing is constricted due to poor circulation and lung capacity from no workouts or walking program. Pleasant thoughts?

Although we are living longer in the U.S., the quality of life for many is not great. This can change and needs to change. Just because your poor or live in a bad neighborhood, or your parents abused you as a child, or your boss is not nice, or any other miriad reasons is no excuse for not taking care of important health needs. Recently, a leading health care professional at John Hopkins University has stated that as Americans get more affluent, we tend to spend more money on health care. However, the problem exists that many people still tend to be lazy. Although income is going up per capita, the rate of health care issues is skyrocketing because people are not using their new economic gains to get and stay healthy. We need to turn that around, and fast.

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

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