There’s trouble Jim!
Our plush lovable beer holsters are a threat to national security.
By the year 2040, 100% of the federal budget will be on Medicare and Medicaid.
Sick people are a liability, which is why the DOD has put a sick nation on par with nuclear war.
According to Chris Kresser, an author and health researcher, the DOD has in fact named health care as an existential threat.
That’s truly wild.
While I do think it reasonable to make conservative guesses, on the potential future outcomes of trends, based on solid data and interpretative frameworks (I’m real fun at parties!); I’m generally cautious about taking predictions completely on board, no matter the source.
Despite the click-baitiness of Kresser’s claims* they’re probably not far off target.
What makes me say this is the data that we already have.
Kresser threw down some hard facts on his recent appearance, on a popular podcast known as The Joe Rogan Experience.
One in two American’s has a chronic disease. That’s either you or the guy next to you.
One of the most common chronic diseases is diabetes.
1/3 of Americans are either pre-diabetic or diabetic. Diabetes-like all chronic diseases is expensive, with treatment costs adding up to 630, 000 dollars over an average lifespan – 45 years at an average of $14k/yr.
Add that to our other well known financial woes and a truly cataclysmic outcome doesn’t seem unlikely.
Catastrophist I am not. I am cataclysm averse. I don’t think they happen that often. I know they don’t happen as often as people who stand to profit, from the various doomsday cottage industries, would like you to believe.
But catastrophes do occur. Floods, hurricanes, stock market crashes, wars, such things aren’t uncommon. And when one such thing gets sufficiently out of hand, then it approaches the parameters of cataclysm.
‘1/3 of Americans’ is getting parametrically awkward.
I call this the calculus of: Oh shit.
So what’s to be done?
Fixing the federal budget is beyond the scope of this article.
The answer to this looming disaster is simple. It is far simpler than becoming vigilant and educated citizens.
It is the doctrine of personal responsibility. Ok, doctrine doesn’t sound simple. I promise I’m not a libertarian...So…. how about eat less pasta, play more Tennis. Or just good ol’ ‘Put down that cheeseburger.’
While it’s simple it’s not necessarily easy. One of Kresser’s more plausible tidbits was informing us that food companies paid scientists, to exploit our penchant for the yummies to create hyper-addictive foods.
Fortunately, it seems that the more good choices you make the easier it is to make good choices. Knowing that your Cheetos are engineered to make you buy Cheetos will probably help along the rocky path to healthier living.
One aspect of Kresser’s recent appearance that I especially appreciated was his focus on the psychology of change.
Preaching of the virtues of vigor and promising the Valhalla of washboard abs isn’t really helpful. And despite Milo Yinappolis’s claims to the contrary, ‘shaming’ didn’t work terribly well when I tried the tactic on my heavier brethren.
Kresser skipped these standard pitches and instead focused on laying out methods for working with your biology to build better habits. Stuff like the potato hack. (To get more on this I recommend you visit his website and listen to JRE #1037.)
Kresser stressed the need to take people on a case by case basis since each person’s body responds to various techniques differently. Joe Rogan hammered this point home by pointing out how Robb Wolf’s wife was healthier despite the couple living and eating almost exactly the same.
There is, of course, a bit more than dietary changes and commitments to exercise needed to resolve today’s grim health issues. What we need to do is undergo a paradigm shift in how we approach our health.
The impression I have is that despite all the organic brick-a-brac and Yoga, we’re still functioning under the idea that we’re eventually ‘just going to get sick.’ That the first thing to do when this happens is to go to the doctor and get some pills, the sooner the better.
You should, of course, go to the doctor if you’re feeling sick but you have to understand that the doctor isn’t there to ‘fix you.’ You should understand that you don’t want the doctor to fix you. Just like you don’t want the mechanic to fix your car. The doctor should be there to help you when accidents happen or when certain specialized maintenance should be done. The doctor is not a magical backup.
I really don’t mean to be patronizing. I know this is simple stuff and most people know it. But as Rogan and Kresser pointed out knowing something and putting it into practice are two different ballgames.
There are various cultural assumptions and lifestyle habits that lead us to a somewhat mystical notion of modern medicine.
We must remember that modern medicine is a specific science for solving specific problems. We must understand that ‘repair’ is not the same thing as ‘maintenance.’
Putting that knowledge into practice means educating yourself on the limits of medical intervention and its true role: a method to get you back to ‘LIVING’ healthily rather than ‘MAKING’ you healthy.
What you’ll find if you listen to the podcast will have you buying potatoes and signing up for the gym post haste.