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Living longer, living better

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In the past two weeks Americans have spent more time decrying the supposed death of Twinkies than we have decrying what impacts making products such as Twinkies a part of our regular lives has on our ability to cash in on our greatest asset–our health.

We are all living longer but so far we aren’t living better.  That’s the findings of a large scale study anyway.  According to an NPR Health News article, in the last 20 years we’ve seen an uptick of 11 years of longer life in most parts of the world but that extra time on earth hasn’t coincided with a better quality life.  Instead, we just live longer with chronic diseases, disabilities and other issues.   What’s more, the problem is global rather than restricted to just first world nations.  It’s true everywhere.  If there are any pluses it’s that people from Japan and Singapore manage almost 70 years of healthy life before they start a downward slide.  However, Americans are so far down on the list that if life were a report card we’d be grounded.

The really good thing about health is that it’s really almost never too late to start doing something about it.  There are studies out there that suggest that Alzheimer’s patients benefit from health and exercise programs.  The American Cancer Society tells people that the moment you stop smoking, your lungs begin to heal themselves.  Exercising for just a few minutes a day begins to add up to health benefits.  Eating healthy can start with as little as deciding to go meatless on Mondays.  There.  All of your protestations have been stilled.  Find a good doctor who will encourage you to do something other than pop another pill for your health and do something to make the last ten years of your life as enjoyable as the first ten.  If that’s not enough reason to change here’s one more.  It will save you money.

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