A 1993 study by McGinnis and William Foege, M.D., published in the Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA ) , estimated that the most prominent contributors to mortality in the U.S. were, in order, tobacco, diet and activity patterns, alcohol, microbial agents, toxic agents, firearms, sexual behavior, motor vehicles and illicit drug use. The work presented in the 1993 article addressed these issues for Americans in all age groups, and was confined to mortality. Although the researchers noted the importance of socioeconomic factors such as poverty, access to medical care, and educational level, they restricted their analyses to those items for which there was a clear biological mechanism.
As they say, moderation is the key to a balanced and healthy life and will help add quality years to it also. Men live shorter than women because they tend to abuse smoking, drinking, and sedentary lifestyle more than women do. Some just shrug it off and say if they are going to die, then what I'm doing is just the way I want to go out. However, when that heart attack or diagnosis with the big "C" comes in, you can bet there attention is refocused on the here and now with many regrets for past sins.
So, if we know we abuse substances and it will lead to early death, then why don't we change and develop healthy lifestyles? One reason is that it takes effort,pain, and discipline vs. the eat, sleep, and watch TV syndrome. If I am OK now, and nothing is broken, then why fix it? It is the ability to understand delayed gratification that is at work. When you are exercising,eating right, and leading a stress free lifestyle, you feel good physically and mentally about yourself. You know it is helping your system work better and longer. But, the initial work and diligence to get into this lifestyle pattern takes commitment and hard work. Exactly what the average Joe wants to avoid at all costs.Until the heart stops.
Let's rethink our current situation and commit to a "stress less lifestyle", devoted to proper exercise, diet and nutrition, spiritual connection, and mental control for meditation and relaxation. Your grand kids will appreciate your for it.