Here are a few sobering facts you should know about America’s health trends. According to the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than one third of adult Americans are obese (34.9%) and the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the US was $147 billion in 2008. Obesity related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers are the leading causes of preventable death.
What about heart disease our number one killer of Americans? Here are the facts. 600,000 Americans die each year of heart disease, that is 1 in every 4 deaths! Every year 720,000 Americans have a heart attack and over 500,000 it is their first one. Coronary heart disease costs us $108.9 billion each year.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US and this year, 1,600 people a day are expected to die from some form of cancer or about 585,720 Americans. The cost is over $200 billion annually.
Why should be concerned about these numbers? Because unless we take drastic measures to change how we live, what we eat and practice health conscious habits we will be in a hole so deep we will not be able to crawl out as individuals, as a community and a nation. There is still time but we must be willing to step up individually and make those changes by eating healthy whole foods, removing added sugar from our diet, kicking processed and junk foods to the curb and exercising most days of the week.
Are you worried that there might be something wrong now? Well, there is a wonderful opportunity to fast inexpensive testing done this Saturday at 9 News Health Fair at Grand River Hospital in Rifle from 7-11 in morning. Take the once a year opportunity to get your baseline labs drawn, take them to your doctor and develop your strategy not to become a statistic.
This month we celebrate National Nutrition Month and Colorectal Cancer Month and we will discuss how they are intertwined.. According to the Centers for Disease Control of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and in women. In 2010 there were 131,607 people in the United States diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 52,045 people in the United States died from it.
Even as saddening as those statistics are there is hope at the end of your fork. Healthy nutrition is absolutely essential in preventing colon cancer. When meats are cooked at a higher temperature such as pan fried and grilling there is a release of mutagenic compounds, the heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Besides colon cancer these cooked meat carcinogens are also associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
So what should you be eating? According to the American Cancer Society, “Overall, diets that are high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (and low in red and processed meats) have been linked with lower colorectal cancer risk, although it’s not exactly clear which factors are important.”
You might be wondering if this is possible. Changing your entire diet to one that excludes any animal products can be daunting for anyone but it can be done and it pays huge dividends in the end. There are some wonderful resources to help you such as the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine and their 21 day Kick Start program. http://pcrm.org/kickstartHome/.
If transitioning to a completely whole foods plant based diet is too much at this time at least consider increasing your vegetable and fruit intake. Only 32.5% of Americans eat 2 or more servings of fruit per day and only 26.3% consume 3 or more vegetable servings per day. The recommended amount vegetables and fruits (combined) is 5-9 servings per day. It doesn’t take much effort to eat oatmeal with berries in the morning, a large salad for lunch, some bell pepper and hummus for lunch and more vegetables served at dinner and before you know it you just decreased your risks for colon cancer!