Why health statistics matter
a Glimpse into the future

"Let him who would enjoy a good future
waste none of his present."
                       Roger Babson

If I said to you that you have a 1 in 2 chance of winning the lottery, would you play? Of course you would! In fact, probably multiple tickets. 

One in two odds are a pretty sure thing. I’d bet on those odds all day. 

But here's a question. Did you know the odds of getting cancer in America are about the same? One out of every two men in America will get cancer in their lifetime. A little better for women, but not by much: under 1 in three. Now those odds are not so good. 

I don't know why, but given those odds at winning the imaginary lottery above most people tend to think they are going to win it. It's nearly a sure thing and everyone is rushing out to buy tickets. 

And yet, for some reason, when I talk to people and let them know the odds of getting cancer are 1 out of every 2 people, they aren't rushing out to change their diets, start exercising, or take other steps to lower their risk.    

I'm no psychologist, but it's an interesting comparison. If you're an expert in this field, I'd love your comments. But whatever the reason, the above cancer statistic is a serious reality check. 

Why Health Statistics Matter

I really like health statistics for one very good reason in that they offer us a glimpse into what our potential future may be. 

And we can either use that information to shape what we are doing now to improve the odds that we will have a long, healthy and productive life. Or we can simply ignore them, and ‘hope’ we have enough health insurance to cover what might come up, not to mention the aches and pains, doctors visits and stress that comes with disease and other ailments.  

Here's a few more troubling statistics:

  • One in three women, and one in four men in America dies of heart disease. Every 60 seconds, someone in the U.S. dies from a heart disease related event. Someone has a heart attack in the United States every 34 seconds. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America.
  • 1600 people die of cancer EVERY DAY. Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death.
  • Alzheimer’s disease kills more people than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.
  • More than 1/3rd (35.7%) of American adults are considered obese. More than 2/3rds(68.8%) of American adults are considered either overweight or obese. Obesity is linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, some cancers, gallbladder disease, gout, general debility and a lowered quality of life.
  • In 2012, 10% of the population of the U.S. had diabetes with 1.7 million new diagnoses every year. It is the 7th leading cause of death. Studies show that it is probably undereported as a cause of death.

    Diabetes was also listed as the primary cause of kidney failure in 44% of all new cases in 2011.
  • In 2018, the annual health care costs in the U.S. are in the neighborhood of 3.6 trillion dollars, or $11,172 per person. 

    According to Becker's Hospital Review, "a family of four will pay an average of $28,166 in 2018, an increase of $1,222 from 2017. The estimate includes the average cost of health insurance paid by employers and employees, as well as deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses." This is up from $9,235 in 2002.

    "Over the last 10 years, the amount a family of four spends on healthcare has been increasing by an average of $100 per month." Something's definitely going wrong here.
  • 500,000 knee replacements are performed annually. 175,000 hip replacements. Hip replacements are expected to rise a staggering 675% over the next 20 years. The cause? According to Mathias Bostrom, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery: lifestyle.

As I said earlier, health statistics can give us a little insight into where we could potentially be headed if we allow them to, and then use them as the motivator to improve our day to day health building practices.

The problem is that we tend to depersonalize the statistics and think that they simply don’t apply to us. We don't see ourselves within them.

I've heard some people say they don’t accurately reflect reality. But if statistics don’t matter, why do we even bother keeping them? The fact is, they do matter.

"The best way to predict your
future is to create it"

                      Abraham Lincoln

So use the above statistics as both a tool and motivation. They’re telling you something about what your future might look like. And if you don’t like what you see, now’s the time to take charge of your health and start to make some changes to your diet or begin an exercise program.

Diet and exercise are always the foundation of a health building program. But it doesn't stop there. The natural remedies tool box is full of options. 

Every additional small action you take to build your health adds up to improving the odds for your future. So take that small step today. And then do it again tomorrow.