As the sun sets on the twilight of my years and in my solitude visions of fleeting memories cascade through my conscious thoughts. As if it were yesterday but yet so far away where in a world that is so unrecognizable and different as night and day. For those of us that are so fortunate to have reached the golf cart reality, something I thought I's never be I have come to realize just how fortunate so few of us are.
When the Berlin Wall came down back in the late 1980's signaling the end of Communist rule in Russia their life expectancy rates ever since have steadily declined. Both men and women's mortality rates rose sharply. Whether it was because of the instability of government, the economic turbulence that ensued, or the violence of ruthless gangs trying to get a foothold on the new emerging free markets that were just beginning to open up all took their toll on the lives and livelihoods of the Russian people. Since the turn of the century the Russian populace have been able to increase their overall life expectancy rates meanwhile in the United States life expectancy has only reversed. No longer are the majority of the American populace living longer and fuller lives.
One of the most startling statistics is that people ages 65 and over close to 50% are now living in poverty. With the medicare expenditures that come out of their Social Security has only exasperates the dire living conditions millions of our seniors are living under. Poverty is the by far the largest one factor that increases the mortality rates of our senior population. In general, our whole population the majority of which like that 50% of our seniors are living near or at poverty levels. When we look at third world countries where people live in acute poverty their population's mortality rates are very high. What we are seeing here in the United States are living conditions that mirror those in the poorer countries. Believe it or not millions of Americans face acute food, water and lack of proper sanitation every day. This all attributes to shorter life spans for millions of United States citizens. This in the worlds wealthiest country is unconscionable.
For a nation that spends the most on health care signals that something is very wrong with the policies that have been enacted in the last 35 years that have put the American population "dead" last in life expectancy of all the industrialized nations. Questions arise now as to why is our population not living longer and yet spends billions of dollars every year on health care? To really answer this question we have to understand the demographics of our society today. The first tip in answering is to take a good close look at the food we have been eating for the last 40 years. Compare the food consumed now to that of our grandfathers and fathers before and you will see a marked difference in the lack of nutritional values that once were in every thing we ate. But, for the last 4 decades the nutrients that once were plentiful have now vanished replaced by chemicals and preservatives that only contribute to shorter life spans. We must also point out that the inflationary trends in consumables especially in nutritious food sources has only increased making it almost impossible for too many Americans being able to afford the luxury of buying and consuming healthy and nutritious food.
Everywhere in the US men and women fill their shopping carts with processed food from can goods to ready to eat meals. And, in most cases they all contain chemical additives that by their very nature don't add any nutritional value to the food. All we are doing is staving off hunger and not replacing the nutrients that are vital for healthy living. Compounded to this is the fact that most of today's children as well as adults don't exercise at all. With budget cuts at every turn in school budgets the first program to be gutted is physical education. For adults many of whom have to work two or three jobs just to put the non-nutritional food an the table and subsequently don't have the time to get regular exercise anyway. Then there are the others who are literally tied to their couch with head phones and computers attached updating their social networks that only continue to become what many term as official couch potatoes and grow more obese every day. Another disturbing trend is that for the most part the United States is a mobile one. But, that mobility is tied to the automobile and not regular walking or biking but rather sedentary movement. All of these are contributing factors as to why the American public has become one to the fattest populations on the planet.
With overweight populations comes a whole assortment of ailments and diseases that greatly affect the life spans of those affected and consequently the care givers who are taking care of individuals with those ailments and diseases attributed to being obese, malnourished and ill. Lessons to be learned when we take a close look at populations who manage to live gracefully into old age. Where life spans generally reach well into their 90's or longer. They all partake in regular exercise and eat for the most part if not entirely non processed organic food. In general these people live longer and fuller lives because of a simpler life style infused with a way of life that has not conformed or been influenced with the high tech gadgetry of our modern world. Granted some technological innovations will help people live longer fuller lives but we all have to remember that their is a delicate balance we must accept if we as a population hope to regain life expectancy that rival those who have managed to live well into their 90's and beyond.
To achieve this education is paramount. The choices we make as children are greatly influenced by our parents, teachers and yes most certainly our peers. The more knowledge one has on the consequences of the choices we make along the way is by far the most determining factor of our life style, our ability to stave off obesity, and our ability to live longer and fuller lives. Our governmental policies must revert back to the way farming was done in the past. This is where the small independent family farms were so successful in bringing to the dinner tables healthy nutritious locally grown food. Where crops were grown when the soil has had enough time to replenish itself with the nutrients that enable healthy crops to grow and provide the nutritional value for consumers. Sadly though, those days of the independent family farmer have for the most part disappeared being forced out of business by the industrial food giants, policymakers and regulators that are intent on boosting agribusinesses profits by eliminating any and all competition.
With this continuing trend in the growth, harvesting and producing of our food today these agribusinesses have only increased the amount of additives and preservatives in our food sources making any chance of consuming healthy nutritious food almost impossible now. When we add what these businesses are doing with Genetically Modifying so many food products again poses real health concerns. When locally grown food was harvested back 50 years ago our population was by far much healthier. But for the past 35 years our population has seen dramatic increases in the cases of obesity, cancer, heart disease, and so many other illnesses all because of the industrialization of our food we consume. Elimination of the additives and many preservatives like Fructose Corn Syrup and the like will aid greatly in providing healthy food for generations to come. To have our society live longer fuller lives requires governmental policies that currently and repeatedly favor large factory farms and giant agribusinesses change to one that encourages more small locally owned and operated family farms. Government policies also have to allow more and more Americas to have the availability to have the resources to afford to make those healthy choices that will ensure longer, richer, healthier and fuller lives. Free from want has to be a realization for every American. To do that requires the implementation of National Economic Reform's Ten Articles of Confederation.