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To Your Health

Here's A Novel Idea

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10/01/2009 - Howdy! Since this going to be a topic that deals with a little bit of political controversy I hope my editor cuts me some slack. Now, this is going to be a long article but it contains some interesting findings and may take two (possibly three) installments to complete, so buckle up!

Since there is so much hubbub about health care reform, this article is important in that it primarily targets the beneficiary of all this mess -- the consumer.

An article entitled "The Preventable Causes of Death in United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifesyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors", from the journal PLOS (Public Library of Science), April 2009. This article has 107 references.

Background from the authors: "Our aim was to estimate the mortality effects of the following 12 modifiable (in other words "you can do this") dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors in the United States (US)-using consistent and comparable methods: high blood glucose, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, overweight-obesity, high dietary trans fatty acids and salt, low dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids (seafood), fruits and vegetables, physical inactivity, alcohol use, and tobacco smoking."

Findings: US deaths from risk factors, 2005

Tobacco smoking 467,000

High blood pressure 395,000

Overweight-obesity 216,000

Physical inactivity 191,000

High dietary salt 102,000

Low dietary omega-3 fatty acids 84,000

High dietary trans fatty acids 82,000

Alcohol use 64,000

Apparently, of the 12 modifiable dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic mortality risk factors evaluated in this study, these four were so low that they were not listed in the final analysis:

High blood glucose

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels

Fruits and vegetables intake

Low dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids

Let us review some key points from the article:

"A number of modifiable factors are responsible for many premature or preventable deaths. For example, being overweight or obese shortens life expectancy, while half of all long term tobacco smokers in western populations (that's US of A, folks, not west of the Mississippi) will die prematurely from a disease related to smoking)."

"Of the 2.5 million US deaths in 2005, it is estimated nearly half a million were associated with tobacco smoking and about 400,000 were associated with high blood pressure." These two risk factors therefore each accounted for about 1 in 5 deaths in US adults. (Yikes!) "Overweight-obesity and physical inactivity were each responsible for nearly 1 in 10 deaths." (WOW!)

"Among the dietary factors examined, high dietary salt intake had the largest effect, being responsible for 4% of deaths in adults." (I know a certain individual in my family that should heed this information and it's not my wife.)

This is getting good! What's that Mr editor? I need to wrap this up because you need to type and edit for the printer? Awww rats! Well, we'll continue this next month. You might want to keep this information so it will be easier as we proceed. See Ya!

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