Let’s Stop Dying, OK?

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, the University of Toronto and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington have just published the most comprehensive study ever done about how diet, lifestyle and metabolic risk factors for chronic disease contribute to mortality in the U.S.

Want to know what they found?

Here are some of the highlights. Remember, these are the numbers of preventable-repeat preventable– deaths each year in the U.S. directly caused by the following individual risk factors.

Get ready to be stunned.

  • Low intake of dietary poly-unsaturated fatty acids: 15,000 deaths
  • Low intake of fruits and vegetables: 58,000 deaths
  • Alcohol use: 64,000 deaths. (Note: because moderate drinking reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, alcohol use actually prevented 26,000 deaths, but these deaths were outweighed by the 90,000 alcohol-related deaths from traffic, violence, cancer and other diseases. Net loss, 64,000!)
  • High intake of trans-fatty acids: 82,000
  • Low intake of omega-3 fats: 84,000 (we’ll be talking a lot more about this in the future!)
  • High blood sugar: 190,000
  • Sedentary lifestyle: 191,000
  • Overweight/ obesity: 216,000

And the winner is…

Smoking: 467,000

These figures speak for themselves. I’m particularly stunned by the number of deaths specifically related to high blood sugar (!) and to lack of omega-3’s, but all the numbers are sobering.

Now consider this: In another one of the largest ongoing studies of diet and health ever undertaken- the Nurses Health Study- it was found that five behaviors- five– could reduce the risk of heart disease by a whopping 83%. That percentage is higher than any drug has ever performed in the history of the world.

Ready for the five simple behaviors?

  1. maintain a healthy weight
  2. eat a Mediterranean diet (eat fish, omega-3’s)
  3. exercise every day
  4. don’t smoke
  5. drink alcohol in moderation (if you drink it at all)

These same five behaviors will keep an awful lot of people from being swallowed up by the “health care” system, which is- let’s be honest- really “sickness care”

Five simple behaviors.

It sure beats becoming a statistic.

« Go Back to Newsletter



1 Comment

  1. Bronwen

    Dr Bowden, could you please date each article and cite specific references? If one needs to convince a scientist, this information is essential. Thank you.