Your Current And Future Health Could Be At Jeopardy And There Are No Obvious Signs (Part 2)
Brad Eaton - MBA, Ed.M, PN1, FMS1, USA Weightlifting and Sports Performance
Lifestyle Coach, Lifestyle Works Team at Keady Family Practice
In Part 1 of this article, I described how chronic inflammation and oxidative stress were the two root causes of most chronic diseases. I also described that they are the result of our body trying to adapt to the outside environment including four main areas: the food we eat, quality of our sleep, physical activity, and stress in our lives.
New research in an area called “epigenetics” is just beginning to understand how this environment actually affects our cells and the way they read our genes with some potential implications in how our diet may cause changes to the genes passed down by males in the family and alterations that could affect susceptibility to certain diseases.
Given that the food we eat plays a key environmental role with our bodies, it is interesting that the US Spends less on food than other nations. Our spending on food, proportional to our income, has declined since 1960 from 17.5% to 9.9% in 2013 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.* This is less than any of the other 83 countries for which the USDA tracks data according to International Business Times. It doesn’t mean food is cheaper in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. In fact, the annual cost of food in the U.S. is more than the average of all the countries for which data is tracked by the USDA. It means that the average amount spent on food, when expressed as a percentage of all the consumer goods the average U.S. citizen purchases in a year, is less than in any of these other 83 countries.
Compounding our lower spending on food is the fact that according to the USDA, nearly a third of the US food dollar is spent on “eating out services”.* Also, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DAGC) concluded that “strong and consistent evidence indicates that children and adults who eat fast food are at increased risk of weight gain, overweight, and obesity. The strongest documented relationship between fast food and obesity is when one or more fast food meals are consumed per week.”* A research summary done by the Center for Science In The Public Interest found “Eating more fast-food meals is linked to eating more calories, fat, saturated fat, and sugary soft drinks and less fruits, vegetables, and milk.”*
A common response to the above is the impression that eating healthy costs more. There certainly is a spectrum of food types that could make up a menu, but healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. A report by the USDA, “Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? “ It Depends on How You Measure the Price”, indicated regardless of the metric used, the analysis makes clear that it is not possible to conclude that healthy foods are more expensive than less healthy foods. New research from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) concluded “Eating healthy vs. unhealthy diet costs about $1.50 more per day”.*
What are the implications of all this? Overweight or obesity is the single best predictor of type 2 diabetes which makes up 95% of all diagnosed diabetes. Heart disease and stroke are the number 1 cause of death and disability among those with type 2 diabetes. The “bottom line”? If you have type 2 diabetes or its precursor conditions, the means to minimize your risk for heart disease or stroke is within your reach through lifestyle changes! Parents should know that “overweight adolescents” have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. This increases to 80% if one or both parents are overweight or obese! Further concerns are revealed by an article “Prevalence and Determinants of Insulin Resistance Among U.S. Adolescents”; “Obesity in U.S. adolescents represents the most important risk factor for insulin resistance, independent of sex, age, or race/ethnicity. The prevalence of insulin resistance in obese children foreshadows a worrisome trend for the burden of type 2 diabetes in the U.S.” Some estimates are 1 in 4 people have some form of insulin resistance.*
It may be clear to see then that based on the points in this article, there should be an immediate concern by everyone for their health, that chronic disease is not always predestined, adjustments to our lifestyles can have significant bearing on the environment that influences the health of our bodies (epigenetics) and not just the avoidance of disease but quality of life as we age. It could be debatable as to whether or not differences in lifestyle produce a longer lifespan. Medical technologies and procedures such as angioplasty, stents, and by-pass surgery to name a few have made longer lifespans possible. It is clear that a healthier lifestyle results in a better “quality of life” for a longer period of time.
*References on file with Keady Family Practice
About Lifestyle Works:
Lifestyle Works is a health and fitness program offered by Keady Family Practice utilizing FirstLine Therapy by Metagenics. Metagenics is a California based dietary supplement manufacturer specializing in medical foods and supplements through the practitioner channel. FirstLine Therapy is a proven program that incorporates personal lifestyle medicine involving changes such as healthy nutrition, nutritional protocols, exercise, and stress management. The program utilizes Boston Heart Diagnostics to provide an extensive blood lipid profile to determine the exact condition of the participant’s health at that exact moment and guide individualized treatment plans and lifestyle changes. Keady Family Practice has offices in Newport and Charlestown.