You may not be surprised to know that the United States of America spends more money on health care than any other country in the world. You may be surprised to know that the U.S. ranks 50th in the world for average life expectancy, behind countries like: Israel, Bermuda, Jordan, Puerto Rico, and Bosnia (just to name a few). In 2009 U.S. health care costs totaled $2.47 trillion — that’s nearly four times the amount of money spent on all branches of the military combined for that same year. Some experts predict that U.S. health care expenditures will be as high as $4.5 trillion for the year 2019 — only to keep rising.
UNLESS, we (as in, You and I) do what it takes to make America the healthiest nation — Today.
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Researchers have recently discovered a groundbreaking medical breakthrough that will save an estimated 1 million lives! 1 MILLION lives — amazing!
And chances are you probably haven’t heard a single thing about it.
These researchers at Stanford University, have found that a 10% reduction of daily sodium intake will lead to prevention of 1 million deaths in the United States over the lifetime of adults. Did you know that the recommended daily value for sodium intake is 2300 mg? Did you know that the average daily intake of sodium in the United States is 3900 mg?!
You already know what will happen if you consume sugar at that rate – obesity, type 2 diabetes, and the list goes on. So why aren’t the adverse health effects of sodium over-consumption not common knowledge? Hypertension, increased chance of stroke, cardiovascular disease — this is just the beginning of the list.
The array of foods with high sodium content may surprise you. Even foods you would suspect to be healthy options may deceive you. Check out some examples in this WebMD piece.
Today’s healthy lifestyle tip is to examine the sodium content on the nutrition label of the foods you eat. Just give it a try. You most likely look at the fat contact and sugar content already, so just look a few lines lower and check out the sodium line while you are at it — you may be shocked at what you find, but don’t let this discourage you — awareness is the key to living your healthy life, today.
As I mentioned in the previous post, there is another big thing that I learned from the Japanese people about healthy living. In most cities in Japan, and especially in the major metro areas, it is very very expensive to own and use a car. Most families have only one.
Though most families have only one car, most families have at least one bicycle per family member. Children ride their bikes to school, business executives place their briefcase in the front basket and peddle away to the train stations to commute for the day, and mothers pick up their kids from school on their bikes (yes, KIDS, as in more than one — see picture below). A 30 minute ride to school is not unreasonable to them.
I also had to get around by bicycle in Japan. Everywhere I went, I went by bike. It was great. I really enjoyed knowing that anywhere I was going, I was doing my health a favor.
In America, there is kind of a stigma with riding a bike to get around town — that stigma being that you are somehow too poor to own a car, so you are riding a bike. That stigma doesn’t exist in Japan, and many other countries around the world. I believe very strongly that using bikes as a form of everyday transportation has a direct correlation on overall health.
Do you own a bicycle? Is it functioning? Do you know where it is?
With gas prices prices rising seemingly each time you blink, you will now be preserving your bank account and health at the same time by taking up riding. A very solid mountain bike can be purchased for about $300, and can be very enjoyable and rewarding to use to get around town. Let’s ignore the stigmas regarding bike riding and just do it for our health. Start riding your bike, and you will see a difference in your health, today.
I lived in Japan for a couple of years. One of the most obvious differences I noticed about Japan, was how few overweight people there were there — it seriously felt like every single person was at a healthy weight. Another thing I noticed was that it seems like people live forever, and they are healthy until pretty much the day the die.
There are so many things that I feel that Americans can learn about healthy living from the Japanese, so I will focus on one in this post and one in the next.
I learned a very profound thing about Japanese eating habits, that helped explain much about their low rates of obesity. There is a saying there that you only eat until you are 80% full, and then just stop eating. And the amazing thing is that they actually do this. I believe this is because it is such a part of the culture and instilled in the people from such a young age.
Think obesity rates in America would drop if we tried out the 80% rule?
Start your healthy lifestyle today by giving this a try.
Our bodies love water! Our bodies don’t love high fructose corn syrup so much.
Do you know how much sugar is in one can of soda? One can of Root Beer has over 40 grams of sugar! And the bad part is that it’s not even real sugar, it is high fructose corn syrup, which our bodies don’t digest as well as they do pure sugar.
The Mayo Clinic knows a little something about maintaining a healthy lifestyle — see what they have to say about drinking water.
Replacing soda, coffee, from concentrate juices, with fresh, crisp, clean, cool water is one of the very easiest things you can do to improve your health. If you don’t always love the taste, or lack of taste that water has, you can add a lemon or lime slice to it. Give it a try, today.
P.S. Water is pretty much always free.
Earlier today I had a chance to spend some time on the CDC’s website and came across a page for the National Center for Health Statistics. I was fascinated by all the percentages, morbidity rates, and cause of death rankings. It is quite a revelation to see in numbers the extent of the American health crisis.
One statistic in particular caused me to do a double take — obesity rates in America. Obesity rates in our country have been sky rocketing and we are only validating the label of “fattest country in the world.” Ready for the shocking numbers? Time to shed some light on the problem —
34% of Americans age 20 and older are obese!
That’s 1 in 3.
34% of Americans age 20 and older are overweight! (this does not include the obese 34% of Americans)
33% of Americans engage in no leisure time physical activity.
So what kind of thing can you do today that will make a difference? You can make the choice not to be one the 68% of Americans who are overweight or obese. This is the most important step you can take towards beginning and maintaining a healthy lifestyle — just make the choice today and then begin to live accordingly. You can begin your healthy lifestyle, today.
Do you know where your running shoes are? How about the running shorts or the bike pump?
If they are stashed away in the depths of dirty laundry, mixed in with mounds of garage items, or you just have no idea whatsoever, well, then, they are not serving the purpose you had in mind when you purchased them.
Today’s healthy lifestyle tip is to uncover any and every item you own that can be used in physical activity.
No matter what type of physical activity you enjoy, one of the most important items you can have that will contribute to healthy living is a good pair of walking, running, or other athletic type shoes. Be careful not to let the good feeling of just buying the shoes create a false sense of health in and of itself. Be sure the rubber meets the road — literally! A quality pair of athletic shoes — a pair built for comfort, support, durability, and specific to your foot shape and stance — will usually run upwards of $50. Don’t let this scare you away — just look at it as an investment for your health.
After you have the shoes, the shorts, the basketball, the bike tube, or whatever gear you need for your favorite form of physical activity, make an extra effort to put them out in the open, somewhere you will see it everyday! The more you see them, the more you will be reminded to use them. Keep the shoes by the front door, keep the basketball in the front seat of your car, keep your bike helmet next to your computer — whatever you need to do!