Sometimes observational health studies differences in risk functionally are not very large. Dr. David Katz was on the America's Test Kitchen Podcast and cited this study, that had a large population - over 23,000 participants, over a relatively large period of time - 8 years, to show that an 80% reduction of risk for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes was due to four relatively simple things:
- No smoking,
- 3.5 hours per week of exercise,
- A diet based on "high intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain bread and low meat consumption", and
- Low body mass index.
Too often trying to understand what to eat is a minefield of fads, personal testimonials, advertising, and hype.
He describes this in another article, "What REALLY Kills Us." as doing the right things with our hands, feet, and forks:
"In other words, the actual, underlying "cause" of premature death in our country fully eight times in 10 comes down to bad use of our feet (lack of physical activity), our forks (poor dietary choices), and/or our fingers (holding cigarettes). (David Katz, 2013)"
The other component that he talked about that I agree with 100% is that people need to feel loved. We need social interaction that is meaningful. We need to feel like we we have family and friends. We need a social net to catch us when we fail, when we mourn, when we age, when we are sick. I think this is why in the Book of Mormon the people pledged:
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life— (Mosiah 18:8-9)
A healthy lifestyle and a healthy community I think is the secret to a long life over all. Individual tragedy can be healed only with help from outside.
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