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Dare To Be 100: Calories And Capitalism

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Our ancestors on the Serengeti were starving and moved a lot, chasing or being chased. They craved sweet and fat as the densest forms of calories. They had no days off from their strenuous routine.

These earliest survival realities come down to us today in the foreboding epidemic of diabetes. Too many calories, too little physical activity, too fast pace of life; we have lost our Bushman heritage.

The November 9, 2005 Yale School of Public Health reported that in another 20 years we can expect over 600,000 deaths per year from diabetes. Forget hurricanes, avian flu, and tsunamis. They are trivial blips. The CDC already teaches that one in three babies from now on will become diabetic, blindness , kidney failure, and amputation rates will similarly triple. Diabetes cost will bankrupt pension plans, threaten General Motors, outsource millions of American jobs, and cripple the budgets of local school boards. The human and economic scope of the coming tragedy is horrific.

In my view, the major reason for this stealth epidemic is the assumption by everyone "let somebody else handle it. I really don't have to worry."

Another recent report from a Virginia think tank, the Institute for Alternative Futures recognizes the threat, and suggests a group of four potential responses for a healthy 2029 . One, stem cells, two, gene therapy, three , nanotechnology,and four, new drugs . I welcome all this tech. I've lived all of my professional life in Silicon Valley, but identify the resistance of millions of years of prehistory to gene manipulation and stomach stapling. Our biology deeded us gene arrays that are unchanged from our Paleolithic days. They ordain that we like sugar and we don't like to move. This is deeply rooted in our human nature. Our capitalist culture hastens to respond by providing fatter, sweeter, richer, easier, faster tools for life. Each industrial advance is a profit center of immense proportions and threat. The wheel and the internet penalize our movement.

But what if what we like is bad for us ? What if we're being seduced to death? What if we don't get to see our grandchildren graduate or dance at their weddings because of our inability to resist the taste in TV temptations? All the while awaiting a scientist to compensate for the frailty of our personal behavior?

It's true that we can't change our ancestry and genetic predisposition , but the answer to this futility is not gene snipping and stomach stapling. We need a massive campaign to incentivize health. Health, not disease should pay. Non-diabetes is in all our best interests.

Two dominant issues are prevention and control . With the doubling of incidence in 10 years and general evidence of poor diabetic control once the diseases is contracted why are we spending 200 billion dollars this year and 600 billion in 2020 ? Prevention based upon assumption of personal responsibility for health shrieks for implementation. If the answer is so clear where's the problem ? Answer: there's no money in prevention. The person who looks back at you in the mirror each morning needs to assume control.

We cannot download responsibility to the hugely profitable medical industrial complex which seduces us by slick advertising and false hopes.

Save your money, save your life. It's your job, not the government's or anybody else's.

Own your own health and future.