The majority of Americans die prematurely. Indeed, considering our inherent genetic potential, death before 80 is premature, with the “average” American dying at age 78.
IF we had four essential health habits, death would come somewhere between 80 and 120, with “average” being 100. That is how long our telomeres are inherently programmed to last.
After 13 years as a neurosurgeon, I pioneered successful non-surgical rehabilitation of patients with chronic pain and depression. Eighty-five percent of over 30,000 patients recovered and were able to live drug-free lives.
I then began asking general audiences how long they wanted to live. I was stunned to learn that most individuals were almost as depressed as my patients.
They were most concerned with:
- Global Warming
- Nuclear contamination/war
- Oil and energy
- China and the development of third world countries
- Chemical pollution, including pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified foods
- Quality of education and parenting
- Financial security
- Health habits and health care
To some extent, all of these problems relate ultimately to health and to personal choices. We have not dealt adequately with any of the 9 problems!
Yet, there are four essential health habits – each under your own control – that must be addressed to avoid premature death.
Less than 3% of Americans have all four of the most essential health habits:
- No smoking
- Healthy weight (Body Mass Index between 19 and 24)
- Five servings of fruits/vegetables daily
- 30 minute of exercise 5 days a week
The April 26, 2010 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine stated that people who smoke, drink excessively, rarely exercise and skimp on fruits and veggies die prematurely. In fact, those with these misbehaviors are THREE times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease or cancer; FOUR times more likely to die of other causes; and die an average of 12 years earlier than those with better habits!
Is this refusal to accept the simplicity of essential healthy habits a reflection of a pervasive death wish rather than a life wish? Perhaps Freud was right when he proposed the concept of a death wish.
My research shows that forty percent of Americans are clinically depressed and another forty percent are not truly happy. Perhaps it is this, along with a lack of common sense, that has led to these leading causes of illness and premature death:
- Smoking and tobacco
- Over reliance on the American Medical System, including excessive prescription drugs
- Failure to understand the relationship between body, mind, and spirit
This refusal to take responsibility for one’s most important asset, health, fuels the demand for ever increasing government dependency and for at least five times as much medical care as would be needed if everyone followed good health habits.
Death may not be so bad but most of the time unhealth–sickly disease–leads to at least a decade of suffering before death. Suffering should be optional. Premature death should also be optional and mostly avoidable. No drug or surgery can compensate for proper care of the human body.
A vast majority of Americans are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. They are also are ”burned out” with low or deficient DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone, the most critical hormone), and with excessive free radicals. Going beyond the basics for an average healthy life of 100 years, we now have the technology to rejuvenate the body’s ability to make DHEA, calcitonin to keep our skeleton youthful and to reduce the free radicals that otherwise age us prematurely.
We could live a healthy life well beyond 100 years, but let’s start with the basics.
Four simple health habits.
Put down the cigarettes and junk ”fast food”. Step away from the television or computer. Move your body. Fuel up with healthy foods. This is not rocket science. These are personal choices and habits that preserve health.
Take responsibility for your health and choose to live. Reject choices that accelerate illness, encourage excess medical intervention, and shorten or compromise the quality of your life.
You cannot afford the luxury of ignoring your health.
We need more than 3% of Americans to develop a life wish.