Why Do Some People Live Longer Than Others?
The death rate is down and the life expectancy is up. “Nothing but good news,” says the statistician.
Perhaps our prevention programs and treatments are working. Statistics are unwieldy things, but these are so general, the news of less death and more life can only be seductive. I want to look at it closer. I want to look at the differentiations among groups, which I doubt have changed. If you ever wondered about women living longer than men, both in the African-American race and the Euro-American races, you should have seen my waiting room the day I encountered a soft spoken and personable but physically-challenged African-American man. He was surrounded by obviously smitten females bearing gifts. Two of the three young ladies offered him homemade baked goods and made a point of telling the third she did not have a chance because she only had a dozen store-bought doughnuts.
Admittedly, not a typical day in the waiting room. The folks at Harvard have done a pretty good job of pulling it together.Menopause has been hypothesized to have a preservation function. Women rear successive generations of the young. And the older people are, the more likely we are to have a female majority. When we look at people who have made it past 100 years, there are nine times as many women as men. From 15 to 24, a lot more men than women die — mostly from reckless behaviors and such (surprise surprise to anyone who had worked at all with male adolescents) and the gap narrows until 55 to 64 year old men get into heart disease and consequences of smoking and alcohol. Smoking can also make women live less long. Genetic factors can help all people stay around. Still, the statistics plainly show that African-Americans don’t live as long as whites. The reasons have been much reviewed; they usually include a tendency toward hypertension, which would cause both heart disease and stroke. Also genetic predispositions to both breast and prostate cancer. For the younger African Americans, other factors include drug use, incarceration, and homicide. But here is the data unreported in the original article. Hispanics are outliving both races.
This means that affluence and education may not be as important in determining life expectancy as we thought. Hispanics have less access to mainstream medical care; something I have wondered may be killing people before their time anyway. It appears that diet can be a big part of this. Hispanics are less likely to abandon their natural ethnic foods for the hyper-processed American variety, thus suffering less obesity.
Observations of this same phenomenon in many cultures during my years of travel – not just Hispanic or African-American – gave me the core ideas I used to lose my life-long obesity. I’ve expanded that into my most recent book.
To me “eating natural” does not mean vegetarianism or organic or macrobiotic or whatever other ideas others may spread. It is more aligned with recognizing your genetic heritage and the nutritional composition of the diet that shaped the different cultures of the world.
And believe me – they are all different. As with most things “One size does NOT fit all” when you are speaking of the “proper” diet.
So disregard food pyramids and recommended daily allowances and politically correct guidelines and governmental edicts shaped by the campaign contributions of lobbyists of various food processing and agri-business industries.
To thine own self be true – and you will be healthier and more easily realize your potential for longevity.