The Good Old Days

The Good Old Days
C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.

Oh, for the good old days, when smoking was the number one cause of premature death and the overweight were just 33%. Even then at its peak, only about 45% of adults smoked. Now overweight and obese individuals represent the #1 cause of premature death! Assuming at least half the smokers are also overweight or obese, it is likely that these double dipping 11% have triple the medial risks and die even earlier than those who just smoke or are just overweight.

As Dr. Thomas McKeown emphasized in The Role of Medicine, 92% of increased longevity Americans achieved in the first 75 years of the 20th Century was not the result of medicine! Indeed, medicine and surgery do not prevent disease. And, Dr. John Knowles wrote in the late 70s, “Ninety-nine percent of people are born healthy and become unhealthy because of human misbehavior.” Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke are strikingly the result of human misbehavior. The Big 3 misbehaviors are:

*Crummy nutrition
*Inactivity
*Smoking

Interestingly, these 3 human misbehaviors are still shortening overall average life by 22 years. Healthy human behavior is the essential personal responsibility. BUT there are gargantuan communal irresponsibility’s that affect all of us:

*Fluoridation of water
*Nuclear contamination
*Chemical pollution
*The food industry pushing 60% of junk artificial foods
*The government providing financial and legal support to industries “too big to fail” but damaging to many!

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