Good News = Complacency = One Sick Nation

Having a positive attitude is good. Having your head in the sand is not.

NY Times LogoThe 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.

Statin use by year and age in the United States

Statin use by year and age in the United States

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)

  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

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?

National statistics show that Vermont is dropping from its perch near the top of national rankings of the least obese states. In 1995, 13.4 percent of Vermonters were considered obese. By 2011, the figure was 23.5 percent.

National statistics show that Vermont is dropping from its perch near the top of national rankings of the least obese states. In 1995, 13.4 percent of Vermonters were considered obese. By 2011, the figure was 23.5 percent.

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.

This pile of $100 bills wouldn't pay half of the annual cost of Mr. Lalli's cancer drug.

A pile of money is what our food and “disease” businesses are making while our innocent population believes that they both really care about our health.

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.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from

Consecutive daily blogs

Consecutive daily blogs

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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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8 Responses to Good News = Complacency = One Sick Nation

  1. SINDHU says:


  2. Bernadine T. Shea says:

    Hi Jim, Thank you for blogging all the helpful information over the past two years! I really can’t imagine not having your blog to read on a daily basis? Ever thought of getting an intern to help
    with the day to day blogs while you move on? Many of us depend on your blog and I’m sure I’m
    not alone when I say it will be a great loss to the 4-Leaf community…….. On another note… Jim,
    I know that there is lots going on that does not support healthy change here in the United States
    but I wish that you could give voice to any successful efforts that are happening. I want to know
    what are people doing that is helping! Example: you created the 4Leaf Potluck monthly event which has been a hugh success with people here in the Boro. If people know of this event
    perhaps others will follow in different geographical areas to recreate this 4Leaf Potluck – it’s a
    fun learning experience, you can meet some very nice people, get a few great recipes, & enjoy
    an evening out…… What else is happening out there “for the good”? Ask your followers and
    then share………. Thanks again for making a difference in my life…… Bernadine

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Thanks Bernadine. I appreciate your message. And I will continue to blog; probably several times a week. Not that I am closing in on 700 consecutive daily blogs, there simply isn’t much that I haven’t blogged about. And all of those blogs are available for your review at any time. Take a look at the drop down list of topics; let’s say diabetes for example. You will see that I have posted 18 blogs on that topic. If you click on that, the first paragraph of the most recent three blogs will appear.

      A good habit for you to form would be to forward one of those earlier blogs to someone who might be helped by the message. Do that every day and you’ll be reaching a lot of people and making a difference. Ask them to forward the message on to others.

      Happy New Year and thanks again for your kind words. I am glad that I have made a positive difference in your life. Be well, Jim

  3. Sal Liggieri says:


    With all the negatives about our corrupt government, politicians on the take from the food lobby and the drug lobby: Do you ever get dejected on the hopelessness of the situation . . . the impossible change to a plant foods diet?

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Sal, I always appreciate your no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is comments. Yes, occasionally, I have moments of despair, but once I become active with a few corporate clients and am seeing large numbers of people improve their health, those moments of despair will be far less frequent. Plus, corporate successes will open doors for speaking engagements or television appearances that will enable me to reach even more people. The opportunity for improvement is infinite. Happy New Year! I really enjoyed seeing you a few weeks ago in New York. Sincerely, Jim

  4. Leo S. says:

    It’s hard to believe statements that say we are in better health today than we were years ago. The following articles and news releases show the oppsoite to be true. Artery blockage is apparently accepted and considered to be normal as shown in the article about Sage Stallone.
    Venus Williams developed blood clots even though she was young and athletic and had to refrain from playing tennis for a period of time. She has resorted to a plant-based diet to overcome an autoimmune disorder (Sjogren’s Disease) which may be caused by dairy products. Being African-American she may very well be lactose intolerant, as are Asians, but many are not aware of that problem and continue to consume dairy and/or take medication to treat “allergies” without removing the cause.
    We continue to consume items which clog the arteries. Nathan Pritikin pointed out that consumption of dairy products and/or polyunsaturated fats could show deceptively low cholesterol readings while still allowing buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. (Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 27: 464-69).
    08/31/2012 at 1:27 pm–Here is a news release about Stallone’s son. Many young people are developing clogged arteries. These conditions are sometimes considered “normal” and nothing is done to try and reverse the blockage because many physicians and individuals are not aware that these conditions are reversible by lifestyle changes. Many doctors still tell their patients that “food has nothing to do with your condition.”
    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sylvester Stallone’s son Sage died at age 36 from natural causes due to a heart condition, coroner’s officials said Thursday.
    Sage Stallone’s death on July 13 was attributed to a condition that causes blockage of the arteries, and no other factors were involved. It has been classified a natural death.

  5. restoringyogini says:

    Thank you for your ardent dedication in promoting unbiased facts for a healthier world.

  6. Irene says:

    Jim, in today’s blog you wrote: “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 change anytime soon.”

    How true! It is a shame we will be losing your “voice” as you end your daily blog in February. I whole-heartedly wish you success in getting the ear of corporate America to effect change by appealing to their pocket books!

    As you strike out on your new journey, please let the rest of us know what we can do to help, too.

    All the best for the New Year…

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