When the Berlin Wall came down signaling the beginning of the end of Communist rule in Russia their life expectancy rates steadily declined. Both men and women's mortality rates took a sharp decline. 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. Now for the past fifteen years the Russian populace have been able to increase their overall life expectancy rates while the United States has seen a drastic change in the mortality rates of Americans. No longer are the American populace living longer and fuller lives.
One of the most startling statistics is that people ages 65 and over 45% of our senior population are now living in poverty. Now, combined with the medicare expenditures that come out of their Social Security this only exasperates the dire living conditions millions of our seniors are living under. This is one factor that reduces the chances of senior population living longer and fuller lives. In general, our whole population the majority of which like that 45% 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 25 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 25 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 3 decades the nutrients that once were plentiful have now vanished replaced by chemicals and preservatives that only contribute to shorter life spans.
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 the determining factor in 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 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. 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 that governmental policies become focused on healthy lifestyles, education and the ability of Americans to have the resources available and affordable to make healthy choices to ensure that their lives are richer, fuller and longer.