(originally published Nov. 09, 2009)
It was a surprise to me to learn from the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) that tackling just five health factors could prevent millions of premature deaths and increase life expectancy by almost 4 years!
Some of these factors (e.g., overeating) are totally within our personal, daily control. While not having enough nutritious food is a big health risk for those in poorer countries, the BIGGER health risk in richer nations is being overweight or obese. Obesity and overweight cause more deaths worldwide than being underweight!
The Geneva-based UN health agency listed the world's top mortality risks as:
- High blood pressure (which accounts for 13% of global deaths)
- Smoking (9% of global deaths)
- High blood glucose (6% of global deaths)
- Physical inactivity (6%)5. Being overweight or obese (5%)
The WHO added that if the risks in its report had not existed, life expectancy would, on average, have been almost a decade longer in 2004 for the entire global population.
That means that the quality and quantity of our lives are in our hands - in our control -- and are, largely, a matter of choice. Keep that in mind when you eat foods high in salt or sugar, or eat too much and don't get rest, or don't get daily exercise, or smoke that cigarette...
When you do things that hurt you and you don't take time to smell the roses, the roses will be planted over your premature remains.