To be in good health and live a long, rich, fulfilling life is the desire of all. According to Forbes, the US spends more per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world yet has the lowest life expectancy and the highest infant mortality rate. Why is this so? If pouring money into healthcare isn’t making us healthier than other nations, then what are they doing that we aren’t? Is the American lifestyle the culprit?
These reasons can add up over time, reducing one’s time above the grave. Lifestyle can facilitate or compromise good health and longevity. Things that are within one’s control such as diet, exercise, fresh air, rest, water, moderation, positive beliefs, adequate sunshine are more influential on good health than we realize. Most of us know the correlation between high fat, high calorie diets with no exercise and people becoming overweight or obese. But did you know, for instance, that even lack of sleep increase chances of getting glaucoma? Choices can affect every body part and system.
Moreover, things in life which one has less control, such as ongoing and acute stress, can wreak havoc on the body if proper health tools are not utilized. African-American men and women typically incur more stress than their white counterparts due to discrimination, unconscious bias, and socioeconomic conditions on average. As a result, within the African-American community, the average life span is shorter than white Americans.
Some individuals may think that they are doomed, destined for a particular disease that runs in their family when really it is a disease that isn’t necessarily hereditary. In these cases, it’s the habits and family choices that brings on certain diseases. This is what is known as a lifestyle disease. Lifestyle diseases are mostly preventable. Preventable lifestyle diseases are diabetes, h eart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis and certain cancers. So, if your family’s health shows a history of certain diseases, you have the power within your reach to greatly decrease your chances of “inheriting” these lifestyle diseases.
Where does one begin to turn things around? How? First of all, see your doctor or health professionals to evaluate your health condition. Then, educate yourself and put into practice what you have learned and reduce your chances of getting a lifestyle disease.
Here are a few books and a list that are all available in the Library's collection. The Library also offers events throughout the year to help you learn more about maintaining your health.
(For further reading, here are a few peer-reviewed journals available through Pima County Public Library's EbscoHost database:
Cameron, Kathleen A. (Spring 2019 Supplement, p8-12. 5p). Chronic Conditions, from A to Z: Life expectancy is lower in America than in other developed nations, mainly due to the toll of chronic conditions, many of which are preventable. Generations - Journal of the American Society on Aging.
Muennig, Peter A.; Reynolds, Megan; Fink, David S.; Zafari, Zafar; Geronimus, Arline T. (Dec 2018, Vol. 108 Issue 12, p1626-1631. 6p). America’s Declining Well-Being, Health, and Life Expectancy: Not Just a White Problem. Generations – Journal of American Society on Aging.
Palloni, Alberto and Yonker, James. (Winter 2014–15 • Vol. 38.No. 4). A Search for Answers to Continuing Health and Mortality Disparities in the United States. Journal of the American Society on Aging.
Lifestyle can facilitate or compromise good health and longevity. You have the power within your reach to greatly decrease your chances of “inheriting” lifestyle diseases.