What’s the matter with Americans? They say they want cheaper health insurance, but when they could get better results for free, most won’t lift a finger!
The leading preventable cause of death in the United States is still smoking. Why are 25% of Americans continuing to smoke? Admittedly, it is hard to quit, but think of the benefits!
What is our second risk factor for the majority of diseases that kill us and slow us down? We’re overweight, right? We eat too much of the wrong things and not enough of the right things. We eat one half of our meals in restaurants — mostly fast-food. We drink an average of 142 pounds of sugar per year in the form of soft drinks, and the like.
Because we’re overweight, we tend to get diabetes, which leads to heart disease, kidney disease, and some cancers. There are some other nasty things that happen as a result of having diabetes, such as blindness, nerve pains of various sorts, and of times amputations of extremities.
But are we willing to do anything about it ourselves? Nah! We’re too busy to start an exercise program and we’re too fond of our favorite foods to eat anything healthier. The come-back question to this answer should be: “Busy doing what — watching five hours of TV a night?” That’s the average, you know.
It comes down to this: It’s a matter of priorities and it’s a matter of most of us not having the education to be able to evaluate our options for solving these life-threatening problems. So the majority just put it off and let our habits run our lives.
So, we go to the doctor, who is supposed to tell us how by changing our diet and a moderate exercise program, we can solve the problem if we lose only 5-7% of our body weight. How hard could that be?
What do you think most of us do? Give weight loss a half-hearted try? Then, when it doesn’t work for us, we go back to the doctor for some metformin, which costs $100+/month and is only effective 31% of the time. The diet and lifestyle changes have been shown to be effective in 70% of cases, as reported by the National Institutes of Health Web site.
Metformin is typical of the pharmaceutical industry’s approach to solving the health problems we get into by our indiscriminate way of eating. It costs us big bucks paid out over a period of years, it doesn’t work as well, and it no doubt has some unwanted side-effects.
Is taking a 30-minute walk five days a week too much work to prevent possible lower leg amputation or blindness? Is broccoli so disgusting that we would rather pay more than $100 per month to add another expensive drug to our daily regimen?
And We Wonder Why Health Care Is So Expensive
How about those who don’t have health insurance and can’t afford the prescription drugs to sort-kinda 31% avoid diabetes? Why don’t they change their diets? There are some good brochures discussing recipes to include more fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in the diet of those at risk for diabetes — and they’re available for free from the Center for Disease Control and other government agencies. They come in English and Spanish.
You can go down the list of the most-feared diseases in America and find there are ways to prevent them by changing one’s habits and lifestyle preferences. Why don’t we do it, then?
My armchair analysis of our situation leads me to believe that over the past sixty years, Americans have been slowly seduced and reduced by the proposition that they should view themselves as consumers and vicarious enjoyers of life, rather than as conscious actors. We have been slyly programmed through our schools to eat a certain way that makes us dull-witted. The key elements of our foods have been so manipulated to play upon our instinctual attraction to sweet, salty, and fatty flavors that food processors have made addicts for life out of this great swelling sea of consumers.
So, we’re addicted to flavors and that’s what we eat. We don’t have the appetite or the desire to eat the natural foods that will give us the nutrients we need to sustain our lives, so we perform at a lower level. Eventually, we get sick.
On top of our dietary dumbing-down, we have the effects of non-stop distractions from TV news to Internet spam to cell phones. Like a dog driven crazy by fleas, we don’t know which way to turn. There is no time left blank that we can use for reflection, to come up with a personal conclusion about what is best for us.
And this leads to us letting “experts” do our thinking for us. But what we fail to recognize is that these so-called experts have positioned themselves to sell us various products and that’s how they earn their living. We trust doctors and what do MDs sell us? Drugs, tests, and surgeries. They push us in the only direction they know that will make them money, even though there are far more effective alternative methods for preventing and reversing those same diseases.
Perhaps, in the center of the cyclone of swirling conflicting information, food is our last refuge. Favorite foods remind us of happy times. They are a place of refuge from the chaotic world that we can’t control. They are the one sure pleasure left to us — easy to get, affordable, and they never say no to us.
We couldn’t quit, if we wanted to — and we don’t want to. Just sell us a pill to counteract the effects of our nutrition-free diet.
It is sad that what was once a nation of “rugged individualists” has become a nation of consumers of unhealthy pleasures without the willpower to save ourselves.