And our toxic diet wins this morbid sweepstakes by a landslide.
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)
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:
- 1,300,000 Diet Driven
- 118,000 Accidents
- 37,000 Suicide
- 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.
- Source article by Mark Bittman. Guns, Butter and Then Some – NYTimes.com.
- Raw data from the CDC for 2010. Here is their top ten list, in case you’d like to check my math
- Heart disease: 599,413
- Cancer: 567,628
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021
- Alzheimer’s disease: 79,003
- Diabetes: 68,705
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
- 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.
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation