Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Third Highest Killer of Americans is the Healthcare System Itself

The two that I'm referring to are healthcare and the environment.
Obviously healthcare is a huge concern, and has been addressed
continually. Both Clinton and Obama support universal healthcare (well,
wait -- since when is America the universe?), and plan on having
everybody insured if they were to gain the throne. McCain says the
same, that we "can and must" cover everyone. It's a hopeful idea, and
one we can appreciate, especially given that numerous other countries
already have this system in place without having to use it as a
political platform. But of all three candidates, only one (McCain) even
mentions the word "nutrition," and makes some sort of claim to try to
stop problems before they start -- at the very bottom of his list.

Like our healthcare system already, everything is geared around
curing, and not preventing. This sort-of thinking is what has led us to
acquire what nutrition expert Colin Campbell calls "diseases of
affluence," illnesses that define the way Americans die in our times;
namely: heart disease and cancer. (Not surprisingly, the third highest
killer of Americans is the healthcare system itself, through faulty
prescriptions, botched surgeries and wrongful diagnoses). In The China Study
he not only shows why the way we approach nutrition is misguided, but
that it is actually helping promote diseases like the aforementioned.
He does not conclude that these nutritive guidelines -- high protein,
high fat, low carbohydrate meals -- create the illness, but the way
many Americans eat is certainly helping move us down the line a lot
quicker, and more painfully.

In The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan mentions
that a child born after 2000 now has a one out of three chance of
developing diabetes. That's tragic, but there is a cause, and it's not
genetic. That our candidates are pushing forth the idea that accessible
coverage (read: cheap pills) is the most pressing issue in our societal
health is remarkably illogical. Well, from a realistic standpoint that
is; from a political stance, it makes perfect sense. Can you imagine a
candidate stepping up on the next debate to declare that we can begin
to heal ourselves through a whole foods, plant-based diet? Not only
would they be booed off the stage, their entire candidacy would be
shot, they would be sued by the National Cattleman's Association, and Us magazine would have fodder for a year. This says as much about the American public as it does about our candidates.

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