US Ranks 42nd In Life Expectancy

Here’s an interesting, but not surprising, article on MSNBC that discusses the fact that the US ranks 42nd in life expectancy. Boy – there are a lot of slants that can be taken on this sort of thing, most of them assigning blame to other people – not the people who they themselves are dying earlier than they should. Here’s one example of the skewed thinking that I think contributes to the problem:

Policymakers also should focus on ways to reduce cancer, heart disease and lung disease, said Murray. He advocates stepped-up efforts to reduce tobacco use, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar.

Policymakers!?! How about the people who smoke and eat crap food doing a little focusing? Most of the mentioned items above can be easily controlled by lifestyle changes and maybe some meds in most people.

This next quote is a lot closer to the truth, in my humble opinion:

“The U.S. has the resources that allow people to get fat and lazy,” said Paul Terry, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta. “We have the luxury of choosing a bad lifestyle as opposed to having one imposed on us by hard times.”

Yes – this one stings a little, but we’re fat and lazy because we can be. He’s still not spot-on however. Notice how both quotes externalize the problem, like people are helpless lab rats and all we have to do is have ‘policymakers focus’ or ‘The U.S. has the resources to allow people– both totally absolve individuals of any expectation of being capable of solving their own problems.

They treat us like idiots and children – and many of us love it because we can say: “We’re fat and unhealthy because the government hasn’t focused enough on this and that.” It’s not our problem – no need to change – let’s just wait until our policymakers decide to help.

Meanwhile – pass me another Twinkie.

I once smoked and I was way overweight – with high blood pressure and well on my way to diabetes. It wasn’t the policymaker’s fault – it was my fault! It was only when I understood that I am responsible for my own life and no one was coming to my rescue, did I have the tools necessary to lose weight and take control of my own health.

Let me leave you with a quote which I have kept with me since I came across it maybe 25 years ago:

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
but for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield,
but to my own strength.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Grant me that I may not be a coward,
feeling your mercy in my success alone;
But let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.

Rabindranath Tagore

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