Having a positive attitude is good. Having your head in the sand is not.
The New York Times source article cited below caught my attention last week. It was entitled, “Heart Disease in Military Shows Steep Drop Since Korean War.” From the article:
A new study shows that the rate of American service members with signs of coronary artery disease has declined sharply in the last half century, falling to roughly 1 in 10 military personnel today from about 8 in 10 during the Korean War.
The authors of the new study, which was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday, drew their findings from autopsies and medical records of nearly 4,000 service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2011. Most of them were men, with an average age of 26. Over all, 8.5 percent had some degree of hardening and narrowing of the coronary arteries, known as coronary atherosclerosis.
The findings came as a surprise to some researchers, who expected that the nationwide rise in obesity and Type 2 diabetes, including among young people, might have led to a similar trend in heart disease in the military. But instead it appears that national reductions in other risk factors for heart disease, like hypertension, smoking and high cholesterol, have had a greater effect on cardiovascular health.
So is this article supposed to make us feel good about how our nation is doing when it comes to heart disease? Personally, I have my doubts about the current data compared to the data collected following the Korean War. I would like to see what Dr. Esselstyn has to say about this data.
But I don’t have any doubts about the following data from the CDC or this graph showing statin usage in the USA. Although we hear about cancer overtaking heart disease as our leading cause of death, heart disease is still holding onto the #1 slot at least through 2011:
Number of deaths for leading causes of death (CDC 2011)
- 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
Childhood obesity declines. Also last week, I saw an article about “childhood obesity being on the decline” in the United States. (See link below) After checking another article on the study posted on Web MD, I found this quote:
The rate of child obesity rose from 13.05% in 1998 to 15.21% in 2003. But it fell to 14.94% in 2010.
Well, whoop-dee-do! In seven years, the rate of obesity appears to have fallen about 1/4th of one percentage point. Does anyone really believe that childhood obesity is getting better?
News about the Top 25 Healthiest States. Check out the “positive spin” that ABC put on the recently announced state-by-state health rankings. Although every state got worse in terms of diabetes and obesity, the article made it sound like the 25 states who did “less poorly” were to be congratulated. See my earlier blog below on this one.
Check out the photo of two of the residents of our “healthiest” state.
The Bottom Line. We’re not winning the war on heart disease. Our children are not getting skinnier. And none of our states have a healthy population. We are one sick nation and getting sicker all the time. And each year it costs more money to be sick in this country as we pass the 18% of GDP spent on health care—far more than any other nation—and absolutely nothing to show for it—except big profits for the food, cancer, diabetes and heart disease businesses.
Until our nation aggressively publicizes EXACTLY what we should be eating to be healthy, we can’t expect to see much improvement. And since our lawmakers are sold out to special interests in the food business, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
Posted below the source articles are two of my earlier blogs about the dangers of complacency regarding the state of our health.
- Source article. Heart Disease in Military Shows Steep Drop Since Korean War – NYTimes.com.
- Source article. Study: Childhood Obesity On The Decline
- Source article. ABC article on the top 25 healthiest states
- Earlier blog. National Health Rankings: More bad news every year
- Earlier blog. “Good News” re food from Mark Bittman; may breed complacency
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