If you’ve spent anytime on The Happy Hospitalist in the last two years, you know I am a strong believer in lifestyle as the only solution to an economic disaster we find ourselves in. One recently reported television health statistic confirms, once again, the strong correlation between lifestyle and early death.
I blogged previously about studies showing an 80% reduction in heart disease, strokes, cancer and diabetes by adhering to lifestyle choices proven to save lives. America is a nation of couch potatoes. Everyday I see families, doctors and nurses taking the elevator up on story to the next floor above. What ever happened to using the stairs for a little self sacrifice?
The television health statistics in this country are alarming. How many hours a week do Americans spend watching television? 1 How does 31 hours a week sound. That’s amazing. I have one or two shows a week that I watch, if I’m lucky.
How does all that television affect your health? Of course, if your sitting on a couch watching television, you aren’t doing something physically active, and a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for poor health.
The new research out of Australia has helped to quantify these television health statistics for us. The data is shocking to say the least. The recent study published in the journal Circulation helped to clarify just how much television was affecting our health.
Researchers found that each hour a day spent watching TV was linked with an 18% greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, an 11% greater risk of all causes of death, and a 9% increased risk of death from cancer.
That is amazing. Almost an 80% increase in cardiovascular death for the average American in this country can be attributed to their decision to lay their butt on a couch and veg out in front of the boob tube. And that doesn’t include the almost 50% increased risk of all cause death and 40% increased risk of cancer death from watching 31 hours of television a week.
It’s data like this that should give every American, at least those whom are fiscally honest, a pause to contemplate exactly what the disaster we have brewing within the walls of our government health care debate really means to us.
The issue is not about access to insurance. Access will mean nothing when the cost of health care inflation prices out all but the richest of Americans. There isn’t a government in the world that can support FREE=MORE universal health care. They are all doomed to failure? Why? Because the people demand unlimited access to a resource that, by all intents and purposes, could be self rationed by a little sweat and sacrifice.
And through all this promise of government salvation, not a peep is heard about the personal responsibility we all have to keep ourselves fit and healthy. The solution to our health care finance crises is not about spending another 3 trillion dollars to create access to insurance. It’s about holding all Americans accountable for how they choose to live their lives.
If you want to spend 31 hours a week watching television and increase your risk of cardiovascular death by 80%, by all means, be my guest. When the money is gone and there are no hospitals and doctors left to care for you, don’t expect anyone except the mortician to be there to help you.
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist Blog*