Does Wealth Kill Health?
Below is a recent ABC news story that I found very interesting titled “The Fattest Place on Earth”. The story centers around a small potato-shaped island located in the South Pacific called Nauru. Below are some staggering facts about Nauru that are presented in the video.
Of the roughly 10,000 inhabitants:
- 95% of adults are overweight
- 85% of men are clinically obese
- 50% of all adults have type 2 diabetes – the highest rate on the planet
- The life expectancy of a man is only 48 to 49 years old
How did a population that once consisted of healthy and lean hunter/gatherers become statistically the fattest place on earth???
In the 1980s wealth from phosphate exports that were mined to be used as fertilizers catapulted Nauru’s citizens to the second highest per capita income in the world. This new found wealth allowed the native population to forsake their hunter/gatherer diet, which had consisted primarily of fish, for one that was filled with all the fast-food western indulgence that money can buy. The most popular staples are now french fries, hamburgers, and a coffee drink that’s a mix of coffee, sugar, and milk. Does this sound familiar? The vast majority of the food now consumed is processed and fried, in fact you can’t even find any fresh fruits or vegetables because they’re simply too expensive to import.
This story offers a glimpse into the bleak future awaiting many developing countries if something is not done to correct course. This good news is that the Nauruan’s are taking steps to reclaim their lean and healthy past. The steps they’ve taken offer all developing nations a road map toward a healthier and happier future. Simply by doing the exact opposite of what the Nauruans did post 1980s, we too can make the road less traveled popular again. This includes being active each and every day and ensuring that our diets include lean proteins, fresh fruits, and vegetables. This is the one life you’ll ever have, don’t live it like a rehearsal.
Recently several government agencies have proposed or passed legislation in one from or another to prevent people from being able to make food and drink choices deemed “unhealthy”. The most recent example of this is Boston Mayor Thomas Menino banning the sale of soda and sugary drinks on all city-owned property, in the hopes that this will help stave off rising obesity rates. The ban applies to drinks like Gatorade, most teas, juices, etc.
What do you think about this? Do you think it’s the government’s responsibility to “save us from ourselves?” Will it help make us a healthier society?
Thanks for visiting friends! Until next time, I hope YOU ROCK IT!
Windfalls of this kind often lead to tragedy. Hopefully the Nauruans will conquer this beast.
This is what I call being a victim of your own success. Does it kill health – no. Can the combination of stress from overwork/job demands lead to chronic problems? Absolutely.
I’m not of the opinion that the government needs to ‘save me’ from myself. Heck, they can’t even balance their own budget. In many cases they’re financially dependent on the sale of these same ‘sugary drinks’ to have a shot at making budgetary goals.
You got me going…
Very interesting story.
I have never heard of the island but what a story, thanks.
Rick Kaselj of http://ExercisesForInjuries.com