Diet, Accidents, Suicide and Murder (Leading causes of death)

And our toxic diet wins this morbid sweepstakes by a landslide.

Murder weapon of choice in the USA

A recent Mark Bittman piece (See link below) advocating gun control inspired this blogpost. He makes the point that while we’re all focused on terrorism, a far greater danger is almost being ignored here on our home soil:

Since 9/11, 33 Americans have been killed by “terrorists”; roughly 150,000 Americans have been killed by non-terrorists: that is, your run-of-the-mill murderers. Murder, like the leading cause of death — heart disease — is often preventable, through regulations, education and medical intervention.

Later in his piece, Mark points out how many lives can be saved by stricter gun control. He cites Britain as an example, pointing out that our USA homicide rate is roughly 100 times greater than in Britain where they have serious gun controls ( civilians can’t even possess pistols or revolvers). From the article:

In the United States, there are nearly three (2.98) gun murders per 100,000 people. In Britain, by contrast, where there were 18 gun homicides in 2009 (a rate of nearly zero — actually 0.03 — per 100,000 people)

Along with a tremendous amount of highly processed carbs, this is where most westerners get their calories.

The big picture about causes of death. Reading Mark’s piece got me to thinking about how murders stack up against other causes of death. So I pulled some data from the CDC and came up with the following top four causes of death in the United States for 2010. In round numbers:

  1. 1,300,000  Diet Driven
  2.     118,000  Accidents
  3.       37,000   Suicide
  4.         9,000   Firearms

As expected, by far, the leading cause of death in the United States is our toxic diet. The 1.3 million number was derived by adding up all of the deaths from diet-preventable or reversible diseases and multiplying by 80%. In other words, with an optimal diet, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and many of his colleagues estimate that 80% of all chronic disease could be prevented.

Note that Dr. Sanjay Gupta estimates that medical mistakes could account for up to 200,000 deaths/year. That would put them in 2nd place on my above list.

The Bottom Line. We are ignoring our single biggest cause of death in this country. Consider this:

For every person murdered in the United States, there are 144 people who die from chronic disease that could’ve been prevented or reversed with a whole foods, plant-based diet.

  1. Heart disease: 599,413
  2. Cancer: 567,628
  3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
  4. Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
  5. Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021
  6. Alzheimer’s disease: 79,003
  7. Diabetes: 68,705
  8. Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
  9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
  10. Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909

So I urge you to vote for gun control, be careful & avoid accidents, promote happiness to minimize suicides and take charge of your health today.

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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3 Responses to Diet, Accidents, Suicide and Murder (Leading causes of death)

  1. Safari Serengeti says:

    Outstanding information once again! Thumbs up!

  2. Always Hungry for Something says:

    This is staggering and super interesting!! The comparisons are amazing. Why is health not a priority in our country? I really don’t understand.

  3. Leo S. says:

    How many of the people who have commited these murders have been on anti-depressants in an effort to normalize their behavior and/or feelings.

    Good nutrition has been shown to help a person learn and behave in a normal manner. The following 15-minute video shows what a Wisconsin School District has done to provide nutritious food to its students and the effect it had on their learning and behavior and even the school’s expenses.

    Remember the “Twinkie Defense” where a murderer was said to have been affected by what he ate? Do we see altered behavior in children who consume accepted “items of commerce” as part of their daily diet? Do we see changes in individuals who consider drinking as a normal part of their life? Do we really know how much we eat is really going to provide us essential nutrients or just taste good? Is it okay to do these things because we do them in moderation and they are considered part of a “balanced” diet, whatever that means other than eating something of all that is available?

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