A recent news item reports that Covid has contributed to decreasing life expectancy in 2020.
Of course life expectancy will drop when a deadly disease, infecting millions of people comes on the scene. It’s not rocket science to expect that. Most of the deaths have been in people between 40 and 60 (the ones out and about more) so the average drops.
Although this is certainly true, the fact is that life expectancy in the US had already been going down the 2 years prior to Covid-19 even coming onto the scene. Since these numbers have been tracked in the early 1900s, we have had a steady increase in life expectancy, until the last few years. In addition, two years ago, kids were now no longer predicted to outlive their parents!
The fact is that, despite having the most expensive healthcare system on the planet, Americans are so unhealthy (we rank ~40th worst with respect to prevalence of chronic diseases), and we rank somewhere in the 40s with respect to life expectancy.
42% of Americans are obese. When combined with the simply being overweight, it’s almost 75%. Worse than that, 20% of young people under 20 are obese, let alone overweight. Hypertension and Type 2 (previously called adult-onset) diabetes are diagnosed in kids even before high school, even in toddlers! Ultrasound studies on infants born to obese mothers shows the presence of cardiac arterial plaque already. Not only are we killing ourselves, we are killing our kids.
We are a sick society. We take the most drugs. We are the fattest. We are the most depressed. Pick any disease, and we are #1! An it is bankrupting our healthcare system.
There are a number of reasons for this including lack of movement/exercise, almost continuous exposure to toxic chemicals and chronic stress. But what we eat is the most important factor. I hear it all the time in the office. “My knees/back/neck…(pick your body part) hurts so I can’t exercise. That’s why I’ve put on weight”. Bullcrap. First of all, these are all excuses not to move. As I heard once “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse”. Secondly, as I like to quote, “You can’t exercise your mouth!”. It takes climbing 25 flights of stairs to burn off the same number of calories you consume from only 1 Oreo cookie.
It’s the food!
One of the most disappointing things to me about this pandemic is that people have squandered the opportunity to work on themselves and get healthier. The “Covid 19” is no joke. People are even less healthy. Sure this pandemic has had a huge emotional toll on everyone. But we can’t just keep deteriorating. There has been a failure to appreciate that how we are living, brought this pandemic on in the first place.
The Blue Zone societies like the Okinawans and 7th Day Adventists in Loma Linda, CA, have life expectancies 10-12 years longer than the average American. In addition, those additional years are full of life and vitality, not spent on a dialysis machine or taking a handful of drugs. We need to do what is done in the Blue Zones (read the book by Dan Buettner). Most of these societies are not vegan, but they do eat a diet made up predominantly of plants. Less than only 5-10% of their calories come from animal products. The average American gets at least 3x that amount. Blue Zone societies also move all the time. They care for each other. They have purpose to their lives.
Just like Covid contributing to lowering life expectancy, the reason those living in the Blue Zones live longer and better is not rocket science.
It starts with caring for yourself and caring for those around you.
We have a long way to get out of this pandemic and our lives will never be the same as they were before. There is still time to work on yourselves. Physically and emotionally.
Have a great weekend and remember to do all the things that are important to show that you care about yourself and all those around you.
WEAR A MASK. Wear a good one and wear it properly. Cover your nose. Stop touching it.
DISTANCE. The virus can only travel so far in the air.
WASH your hands and stop touching your face.
COVER YOUR EYES where appropriate.
VENTILATE. The virus dissipates quickly with good airflow and fresh air.
VACCINATE. Get whichever one you can as soon as possible. Any amount of protection is good.
GET HEALTHY. Drink more water. Move. Eat more plants.
BE COMPASSIONATE towards yourselves, all those around you, the animals and the planet.
Stay Safe and Be Well.