Thursday, April 12, 2007
Annoying stories on the news
Living in my country at the present time means that I am often annoyed by stories on the news. But usually the blood pressure elevators are political and not health-related. This week I heard a story about the new methods health insurers can use to set rates or deny coverage. It seems they may in the future use a family history of disease to increase your premium.
One thing my health and diet research has taught me is that genetics plays a very small part in diseases of excess, such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and even cancer. If a Japanese person relocates from Japan to America and starts eating a standard American diet, he will acquire the same health risks as Americans. His "Japanese genes" won't protect him. The book The China Study by Campbell provides a lot more detail and is a great read. The titular study is the most comprehensive study on diet/lifestyle and disease to date, and has startling conclusions, such as:
--The genes that you inherit from your parents are not the most important factors in determining whether you fall prey to any of the ten leading causes of death.
--Breast cancer is related to levels of female hormones in the blood, which are determined by the food we eat.
--Heart disease can be reversed with diet alone.
--Consuming dairy foods can increase the risk of prostate cancer.
--Type 1 diabetes is convincingly linked to infant feeding practices.
This is a roundabout way for me to say that it's crazy to think that your family history of diseases of excess predicts your fate, unless you eat and live the same way your parents and grandparents did. I wouldn't want to be punished with a higher premium because my grandfather ate half a stick of butter every day.