Sunday, January 9, 2011

Are We Healthier?

Are we healthier than we were 20 or 100 years ago?

A farmer raised this question in the Cafe forum of Ag Talk. It's a good question, many wonder about it.

I felt this article was worth sharing for the discussion:

"seems like not a day goes by without news of a drug or food recall (Zicam) or a law being passed to limit our food choices (soda bans in schools). But I don’t remember these kinds of things happening when I was growing up. In fact, just 20 years ago, I was riding my bike helmet-less, buying candy cigarettes from the ice cream truck, sitting in smoke-filled restaurants with my parents and eating raw cookie dough.

So I had to laugh this morning when I read this article on MSN: Coming of age in the years of living dangerously. It highlights perfectly what I’ve always been fascinated with… just how much things can change in such a short amount of time, and whether it’s for the better, or because we’ve become just a little ridiculous.

My parents grew up differently than I did (check out these funny stories from baby boomers), and I grew up totally different than children today do.

My mom wasn’t a health fanatic, but my brother and I did have rules: We were allowed to buy one sugary cereal along with a healthy one each grocery store trip. We had to call my mom at work to ask her if we could drink a diet soda. And we were banned from watching TV during summer days.

Yet I remember my mom getting pulled over once because I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, or her never making us wash our hands before dinner.

Today, with all sorts of health regulations placed upon us by our parents, schools and government, are we really better off? It’s a good question, and one that doesn’t seem to have a definite answer.

In the MSN article, Dr. Daniel Berman, chief of cardiac imaging at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in L.A., says: “It would be a disservice to say that (modern, healthier habits) don’t make any difference. I’m 100 percent convinced that the things we’re doing are extending our younger years.”

But the good doc also noted that 50% of our health comes from our DNA. Or, another theory as one woman in the article put it, what didn’t kill her made her stronger.
As an adult now, when it comes to my personal well-being, I do take certain steps to live safer and healthier. But I also like to live a little, and rarely give into the hysteria that surrounds public health issues. So far, due to luck, good genes, or maybe a combo, it’s worked for me.

So what do you think? Have we gone overboard when it comes to our health? And where will we be 20 years from now?

Want to reverse old bad habits? Read Second Chances."

Dad's family lived a little longer than his dad's family so I think they fall into the trend of living longer which is not DNA, it is environment. Breast cancer has become a threat to the women of our family. I am not sure how my family will do compared to dad's.

I think over half the families are living longer but not all of them. I have lost way too many friends over 40. To me that is a short life, I was just hitting my prime at 40. Wasn't many generations ago that was the expected longevity.

So as usual, we don't know. The trends go all directions. Some are better, some are worse.

I know I am thankful I never missed the last ten years, wow.


1 comment:

  1. I don't know. All but one of my grandparents lived to around the 90 year mark. Certainly nothing like health foods or organics contributed to that. Maybe it seems like theres more disease now because the doctors are able to detect it earlier. Maybe lots of times the old timers were sick and didn't know it?