Dying Young? America’s Shocking Health Report Says Change Your Diet and Move More!

Despite spending a massive amount on healthcare, citizens in the United States have worse health than other wealthy nations. In fact, U.S. citizens die more frequently and younger from nearly every major cause of premature death, including heart disease, diabetes, and interpersonal violence.

A study from a group of scientists led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington provides evidence that the U.S. has a long way to go in keeping up with the high-income countries in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere when it comes to health outcomes.

Traffic Injuries, Self-Inflicted Harm, and Drug Use

The research reveals that traffic accident injuries, self-inflicted harm, cirrhosis, and drug use cause more years of life lost due to premature death than previously realized. Years of life lost due to drug use, for example, were up 448 percent between 1990 and 2010, causing more life loss than prostate cancer and brain cancer combined.

Alzheimer’s, liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and kidney cancer are also rising rapidly as sources of premature death.

Here are the top 10 causes of years of life lost and their percentage of all years of life lost:

  1. Ischemic heart disease: 15.9 percent
  2. Lung cancer: 6.6 percent
  3. Stroke: 4.3 percent
  4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: 4.2 percent
  5. Road injury: 4.2 percent
  6. Self-harm: 3.2 percent
  7. Diabetes: 3.1 percent
  8. Cirrhosis: 2.7 percent
  9. Alzheimer’s disease: 2.6 percent
  10. Colorectal cancer: 2.4 percent

The Solution: A Better Lifestyle

According to the researchers, Americans can recover much of their health if they clean up their diet and get more exercise. Unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity in the U.S. actually cause more health loss than smoking, alcohol, or drug use.

Dr. Ali Mokdad, head of the U.S. County Health Performance team for IHME and former director of the Behavior Risk Factors and Surveillance Survey at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believes that if the U.S. can make progress with dietary risk factors, physical activity, and obesity, it will see massive reductions in death and disability.

How Diet and Exercise Can Help

Improving diet and engaging in regular physical activity are key components to improving overall health. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or a combination of both. This can be broken down into sessions of at least 10 minutes at a time to make it more manageable.

Additionally, a healthy diet can help lower the risks of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Consider making these changes in your diet:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes
  • Limit processed foods, added sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats
  • Choose lean protein sources, such as fish, poultry, and plant-based options
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water and minimizing sugary beverages

The Importance of Preventative Care

In addition to adopting a healthier lifestyle, it’s essential to prioritize preventative care. Routine check-ups and screenings can help detect health issues in their early stages when they are more easily treatable. Be sure to schedule regular visits with your healthcare provider and follow their recommendations for screenings based on your age, gender, and medical history.

Mental Health Matters

Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, and it’s important to take care of your emotional and psychological health the same way you take care of your physical health. Seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional if you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or other issues. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep can also positively impact mental health.

A Call to Action

The study’s findings call for a significant shift in both the healthcare system and individual lifestyle changes in the United States. By taking steps towards healthier diets and increased physical activity, Americans can potentially avoid premature death and improve their quality of life. It is essential for healthcare professionals, policymakers, and communities to support and promote these efforts to improve health outcomes for everyone.