Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reality check...

Anevay and I have been having many heart-to-heart discussions lately about mortality, specifically, ways in which, barring accident, we can keep alive and healthy for as long as possible.

As the kid of a single mom (with an absent father), Anevay's biggest fear is that I'll die and leave her alone. It's also one of my biggest fears, and one that I'm working hard to counter.

That's why I have cut down my caffeine intake to a cup a day (OK, sometimes two), why I quit smoking (although I had largely quit, I was still having an occasional cigarette while having a drink... it's been three or four years now since I've had a single puff), and why I've cut down my alcohol consumption to a minimum.

Last night Anevay and I, who already have a healthy diet, decided to eat even better. (We've been a little lax lately)

This morning, I read an article in Counterpunch (a great political newsletter) that seemed not only to confirm that the choices Anevay and I are making are wise, but it put them into context alongside one of the biggest fears our government and media have instilled in us... terrorism.

Read below for a snippet of the article:

"A significant majority of Americans, polls repeatedly tell us, list terrorism as one of their greatest fears. Like most of our media-inspired interests and worries, however, this one has little basis in reality.

In actual fact, unless you’re serving in a war zone, the most dangerous person you’re ever likely to encounter – by several orders of magnitude – is the one you see in the mirror every morning.

Not some shadowy arms dealer peddling second hand nukes. Not some dusky Jihadi with a song on his lips and a suicide belt around his middle. Not some mad scientist, bribed by the forces of evil to cook up a bio-bug capable of ending life as we know it.

Here are the hard facts.

The single greatest killer of Americans is the so-called “lifestyle disease”. Somewhere between half a million and a million of us get a short ride in a long hearse every year because of smoking, lousy diets, parking our bodies in front of the TV instead of operating them, and downing yet another six pack and / or tequila popper.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, between 310,000 and 580,000 of us will commit suicide by cigarette this year. Another 260,000 to 470,000 will go in the ground due to poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. And some 85,000 of us will drink to our own departure."

After reading the article, it's hard to believe that our country maintains such a fear of terrorism even while our healthcare system ranks 37th in the world (Take a guess at which kills more people... Terrorism or inadequate healthcare):

1         France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
17 Netherlands
18 United Kingdom
19 Ireland
20 Switzerland
21 Belgium
22 Colombia
23 Sweden
24 Cyprus
25 Germany
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
28 Israel
29 Morocco
30 Canada
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica
37 United States of America

Surprised? Unfortunately, as an unemployed single mom with terrible healthcare, I'm not...

Too bad our country has such a costly, yet inadequate healthcare system, as the US has the fifth highest obesity percentage... (A person who is 40% overweight is twice as likely to have health problems and die prematurely as is an average-weight person)

(We can partially thank the US Farm Policy- geared towards driving down prices for corn and soybeans- for our country's obesity percentage. Just Google the US Farm Policy and obesity if you don't believe me):

I won't even get into smoking statistics, as they disgust me so much to the point where if I ever met a person who worked for the tobacco industry (lobbyists, that means you, too), I'd be liable to beat him/her down...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to not only have another cup of tea so that I can get over my cold and get my ass back to my muay thai gym, but I need to get on the phone to sign my kid up to play summer soccer. (No, I see nothing wrong with being a soccer mom... If my kid wants to play soccer, she'll play soccer, dammit.)

My healthy body = that many more days I can spend on this Earth with my sweet daughter...

Raising my daughter to keep healthy habits = successful parenting...

As far as my fear of terrorism goes, I think along the lines of John Goekler (Read here for the full Counterpunch article), who wrote:

"Terrorism is an act of the weak. But so is walking through the airport in our socks."


  1. Great post! It's so easy for politicians to spread fear, but very hard for them to go up against their cowardly colleagues to fight the hard battles -- health care being the hardest. We need more women to run for office. Local, state and federal levels. It's a must. We get it.

  2. Our health care system is awful! And I agree that more women in office would be beneficial!


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