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Our young adulthood is often considered the best time of our life. Unfortunately, many overlook the importance of key choices in diet and lifestyle that will affect them later in life.
While our health is typically sound in our twenties and thirties, it is also a time when we can make the worst decisions surrounding diet and exercise. We drink alcohol excessively, eat junk food, and shun exercise, mostly because we don’t take the time to consider that we will not always be young and naturally healthy, or worse somehow it seems to us that we will live forever.
Eventually, we reach the age where we start to notice how our bad habits have caught up with us, and we may have to pay the price for all the poor choices made in our younger years.
The World Health Organization summarizes this worldwide dilemma…
The key takeaway from the above is that diet and exercise play a key role in our health, and especially as we age, as that is when chronic diseases begin to surface and the risks of premature death increase.
However, there is something more important to consider. No matter how unhealthy the world is around us in its dietary and sedentary lifestyle offerings, the choice is ultimately ours as to the choices we make that determine our own health.
If you are reading this and you are in your twenties or thirties, then you are lucky enough to get hold of this vital information well in time to make a great difference in your own health.
If you are older, perhaps you were smart enough to behave wisely in your earlier years, if so pat yourself on the back, if you weren’t… join the club, but do not despair, it is never too late to make a change now.
What Are Lifestyle Diseases?
According to Medicine Net…
Lifestyle diseases are different from other types of diseases because they are highly preventable.
Lifestyle diseases tend to become more common in countries that are industrialized and are often the result of inappropriate relationships between people and their environment.
“The prevalence of having 1 or more or 2 or more of the leading lifestyle-related chronic conditions increased steadily from 2002 to 2009. If these increases continue, particularly among younger adults, managing patients with multiple chronic conditions in the aging population will continue to challenge public health and clinical practice” – Co-Occurrence of Leading Lifestyle-Related Chronic Conditions Among Adults in the United States, 2002-2009, Ford, Croft, Posner, Goodman, Giles
The results of a Centers For Disease Control (CDC) study (Jaffe, et al), published in 2014 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report compared death rates in all 50 states from the years 2008 to 2010.
- 34% of premature deaths were from heart diseases (92,000 lives)
- 21% of premature deaths were from cancer (84,500 lives)
- 39% of premature deaths were from chronic lower respiratory diseases (29,000 lives)
- 33% of premature were from stroke (17,000 lives)
It isn’t just the United States that faces lifestyle diseases, according to the most recent statistics from the World Health Organization…
There are some lifestyle diseases that work in tandem with other diseases. For instance, hypertension and diabetes and are both lifestyle diseases that also increase the risk for another lifestyle disease, heart disease.
Once upon a time, death was the result of a sudden onset condition. However, today, we slowly develop conditions over the years, as a result of a certain lifestyle. Lifestyle diseases cause death, and often cannot be fixed through traditional medicine methods.
According to the Center for Disease Development, the top 3 causes of death in the early 1900s United States were: pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea.
- Communicable diseases made up 60% of total deaths
- Lifestyle diseases, such as cancer and heart disease ranked in the top 10, at 8 and 4
Since the 1940s, the majority of US deaths have been the result of cancer, heart disease, and various other lifestyle diseases.
By the late 1990s, over 60% of deaths were due to lifestyle diseases
We all have to die someday, however, thanks to science, antibiotics, improved sanitation, and medical support, we have mostly eliminated death threats caused by infectious diseases.
Instead, in great part due to the industrialization of food, and the huge influx of highly processed unhealthy foods along with sedentary lifestyles those lifestyle diseases have taken the lead as the primary cause of death in the modern United States.
Today, we are losing far too many people to cancer and heart disease, and well before their time.
- Diet and exercise are at the top of the list
- Dental hygiene plays a role
- Not smoking greatly reduces risks of cancer, and heart disease
- Alcohol moderation is key in preventing several chronic conditions
We have a choice: we can get sick and become informed in our older years and/or possibly die prematurely OR we can make changes to our diet and lifestyle that can see us be healthy and live to a ripe old age.