What Planet are These People Living On ?
This is my first text book, 'Understanding Nutrition'. It contains this statement in the preface, ‘More people are living longer and healthier lives’. Really ?
We are living through the worst diabetes and obesity epidemic in human history, people are getting fatter and sicker by the day. I see this all around me, its impossible not to. That's my starting point for entering this field, to try and help fix the problem. And yet the big names in the field, the authors of a standard university text book, come from the exact opposite perspective. Everything is fine, everything is going OK.
I'm familiar with this attitude, I've just spent several years witnessing it in the military and the emergency services sector. It is rife in industry too. The level of complacency and self-delusion that surrounds us in the West right now is staggering.
Official statistics mask the position, from what I can see. Our medical system appears to be having some success in prolonging life, and in managing disease symptoms. We also have an influx of immigrants who are largely in their prime years. Some people are doing more or less OK, there are sharp differences in health outcomes by class, region, and gender - you do not want to be Australian-born, blue collar, male, and living in the country.
Half of all Australians suffer from a chronic health condition. This figure does NOT include obesity, 64% of the population are overweight*. I suspect diabetes and metabolic syndrome are seriously under-reported, most sufferers will be unaware they have the condition. To my mind, these are more significant indicators of the real state of affairs, as is the horrifying rate of suicide among middle aged men.
This, strictly speaking, is an ethical claim rather than an empirical one, it is a value statement. I believe the obesity epidemic reflects a way of life that is degenerate and unsustainable, that is reducing our stature as human beings and ultimately threatens to destroy us completely, it is the product of a civilisation that is rotten at its very core. I believe it to be an intractable problem, no solution is possible unless and until we make some serious changes to the existing order. At some point, I predict this underlying reality will also be reflected in the official metrics, longevity seems to be declining in the US already, a taste of things to come**.
Harsh words, but its what I believe, its what motivates me here.
So, if you're not doing so already -
get in the gym
sort your diet out
get ready for stormy times ahead
* statistics taken from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-welfare-overview/australias-health/overview