Two recent, jaw-dropping epidemiology reports barely made a ripple in the sea of healthcare information. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, every year obesity causes more than 100,000 cases of cancer in the United States; and the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index reported that more than 11 percent of Americans are diabetic and, given that trend, at least 15 percent or Americans will be living with diabetes by the end of 2015.
Obesity, cancer and diabetes have profound effects on quality of life, and their financial cost — for individuals and the entire healthcare system — is staggering. These three conditions exemplify how lifestyle choices affect genetic expression: that is, we can activate or deactivate genes that determine why one person gets cancer or diabetes and somebody else does not. Healthcare reform without a focus on wellness does little to address why a land of plenty is so ineffective in addressing obesity, cancer and diabetes. As Pulse of Health Freedom pointed out in an article dated Oct. 20, 2009, our dollars are ill spent if we fail to champion medicine that can truly prevent and reverse conditions stemming from lifestyle choices. On the bright side, legislation like S. 1640 (the Take Back Your Health Act of 2009) does support lifestyle therapies that have significant impacts on obesity, cancer and diabetes — diseases that drain us financially while impairing quality of life.