Death and Diet

In 2013, the National Institute of Health published a research paper entitled “The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors.” Its analysis and comparison with 34 other industrialized nations provided valuable input for national health policy. Here are some interesting facts:

  • The US spends the most per capita on health care.
  • US life expectancy increased from 75.2 years in 1990 to 78.2 years in 2010.
  • Healthy Life Expectancy increased from 65.8 years in 1990 to 68.1 years in 2010.
  • Among the 34 countries, the US rank for age-standardized death rate went from 18th in 1990 to 27th in 2010.

To summarize: We spend a disproportionate amount of money on healthcare. While life expectancy has increased, the average person still experiences 10 years of disability. And the US is falling behind other countries in its mortality rate. Not such great news!

Roughly three-quarters of all US deaths can be attributed to one of 10 causes. Here are the statistics gathered by the Center for Disease Control:

leading causes of death in the usa

I know a lot of people who think that we do not have much control over when and how we die. They think that maladies come with old age and that something is bound to get us. But when you look at the data, it turns out that we have much more control than you might think. According to the aforementioned State of US Health report, here are the top 10 primary risk factors that lead to premature death:

risk factors for death

What’s the number one risk factor? Diet! And if you’ve read my other posts, you’ll see how diet impacts blood pressure, body mass index, plasma glucose, and cholesterol. So, in reality, diet is responsible for the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th leading risk factors for premature death. And Dr. T. Colin Campbell makes the connection between diet and cancer in his book, The China Study.

Bottom Line: Change your diet and you just might save your life!