Health: More Important Than You May Think

The subject of health is a very wide topic. The most commonly accepted notion when the word is uttered usually refers to the physical wellbeing of an individual. However, this is one of the more shallow definitions of health, which should be as important as national security and economic sustainability. This is due to the evident fact that a nation that is unhealthy (or a world that is unhealthy) is a collection of weak people. Though anyone can look up the Center for Disease Control and see what are the greatest public health threats ranging from HIV to the most recent outbreak of Ebola in Africa, there are far more health issues at stake than simply what latest strain of viral infection is engulfing a populace.Beautiful blond woman drinking water in natural landscape

While there have been many leaps in the progression of combating world-wide plagues (or even treating the common cold), there are many facets to the culture of America in particular that have not been addressed to the degree that they should be. Most notably is the obesity epidemic that has been rampaging the population throughout the past couple decades. Though from an external view, it appears Americans are simply getting heavier on the backs of others producing for them, it is much more complicated than that. It starts primarily with the culture of the United States. The people consuming the food are not always viewed as people. They are viewed as wallet-pumping funds in the cycle of food processing and waste removal, finding the most economical process to bring food to the masses, rather than the healthiest way.

Health-conscious chef Jamie Oliver has been quoted saying, “diet-related diseases are two of the top five causes of premature death for people under 60 years old”. To understand this, one must also look at the geographical placement of specific food, as well as the mental health of those consuming it. There are far more McDonalds and Burger Kings in America than grocery stores, so not only is the availability of generally better products less available to the majority of people (especially in inner cities, where the average obesity rate is 25%), but also the physical and mental addictive qualities of the foods are causes for great concern, depending on the rate of consumption. A recent study, published in Nature Neuroscience, has confirmed that test subjects (rats) affected by high-fat, high-calorie fast foods have similar physical and mental reactions to those addicted to cocaine or heroin.

Good health is more than someone who isn’t currently suffering from a viral infection or a debilitating disease. It is the mental and physical wellbeing of a person, not only in the actual status of their body and mind, but in their status as a citizen of world.