U.S. ranks 68th on health and wellness compared to 133 developed nations

The U.S. ranked 68th for the category “Health and Wellness” in a comparison of 133 developed nations. That ranks in the lower half of the group. Economically the U.S. ranks within the top few nations and ranks in the top in many of the other categories that were assessed. However the Health and Wellness ranking or the U.S. is low in comparison not only to other nations but also to the U.S. ranking for many of the other 53 categories that were used to assess a nation’s ‘social progress,’ — suggesting that the healthcare strategies that have already been in use or were recently implemented in the U.S. in an effort to improve the health and wellness of U.S. citizens need to be reviewed and redesigned if we hope to achieve better results.

https://hbr.org/2016/08/why-americans-are-so-angry-despite-americas-strong-economy?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=harvardbiz

We may be able to afford ineffective health care over the short term of a few sickly generations but we can’t afford ineffective health care for ever. Somebody has to remain healthy enough to be able to take care of the increasing numbers of chronically ill people.

The globalization of markets has helped some workers while it may have left other groups less well off than they had been. Globally incomes have improved for groups of people in some areas of the world but have held stable or dropped in other areas. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/07/this-chart-reveals-the-most-dramatic-change-in-incomes-since-the-first-industrial-revolution?utm_content=bufferd61fe&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

In some categories used to assess social progress the U.S. has been dropping in comparison to other developed nations and we are now on par or worse than some third world nations including the area of ‘Health and Wellness.’  http://usuncut.com/class-war/america-third-world-country/

Male fertility in 1992 was estimated to be at a rate of 1710 births per 1000 males on average (or 1.7 children per male aged 15-44) and 1960 births per every 1000 females (or 1.9 children per female aged 15-44). https://www.census.gov/population/documentation/twps0014.pdf

However either fertility has decreased or the desire to father children has decreased because the rate of children fathered by men aged 15-44 years in 2002 was at a rate of 1.0 children per male and the rate dropped yet more to 0.9 children per male aged 15-44 years between 2006-2010.  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr051.pdf

So in 1992 the average 15-44 year old male had 1.7 children while in 2002 the average 15-44 year old male in the U.S. had 1.0 children and between 2006-2010 the average male aged 15-44 years old only had 0.9 children.

It might seem like everything is for sale in a capitalist nation but — you can’t buy health and while you might be able to buy fertility treatments and in vitro fertilization it turns out that nature has ways we are only beginning to discover. In vitro fertilization (egg meets sperm in a test tube) may leave the child with DNA from the male’s mitochondria which wouldn’t be as likely to occur during natural fertilization. Few of the male mitochondria enter the egg during normal fertilization and the egg has ways to destroy any male mitochondria that are able to enter. Normally only the maternal mitochondrial DNA is left in a newly fertilized zygote. (The first new life form is a single celled egg/sperm combo called the zygote.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paternal_mtDNA_transmission

Excess male mitochondria may be involved in some cases of male infertility.  http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.496.2503&rep=rep1&type=pdf

The markers that help an egg identify male mitochondria for destruction may be species specific according to research performed with lab animals. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC41980/pdf/pnas01486-0478.pdf

We don’t know what we don’t know — until we learn it — and we are learning that we can’t really pollute our environment and food supply with estrogen mimetics and other toxic additives, herbicides and pesticides, if we hope to have “Health and Wellness”. As U.S. citizens we are constitutionally supposed to have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Health and wellness – and the ability to have children naturally – seems like part of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Should ‘corporate people’ have a right to profit off human citizen’s ability (or inability) to procreate or should ‘corporate people’ have a right to profit off a human citizen’s right to decide how they deliver their baby or how they feed their baby? Would it be fair to the non-corporate people (formerly known as humans) if the government ruled that all infants will be conceived in a test tube; and will be delivered by C-section; and will be fed exclusively with formula; or will be fed exclusively by breast milk whether the mother is able to or not?

Part of “health and wellness” might be the freedom to make individual choices based on individual differences. Some regulations protect the corporate ‘right to access to the consumer’ more than they protect the consumer’s right to access safe products and services. Midwives have been harassed for centuries and even burned as witches while medical schools and medical associations are regulated as safe providers of maternal care. History has shown that men didn’t wash their hands even after being told that it was causing increased maternal deaths due to infections. The pioneering doctor that tried to get other doctors to wash their hands was harassed during his own career for his work — but his name lives on in textbooks though, at least, (Ignaz Semmelweis). Midwives knew about sanitation but it took a male doctor ruining his career to get other male doctors to eventually start washing their hands in between attending pregnant women.

Hand washing helped promote improved “Health and Wellness” in the U.S. and elsewhere but it took a while to catch on. What other health practices are needed? We won’t know if we continue to not listen to pioneering scientists. Currently alternative information frequently is being dismissed as “debunked” or “Quack,” but history revealed that Ignaz Semmelweis was not the quack and likely the midwives who were burned as witches didn’t quack either. (A Monty Python reference is hiding there for Monty Python fans.)

So if we want America to continue to be great than we need to review and redesign our nation’s strategies for promoting individual health and wellness because whatever we’re doing hasn’t been very effective while it has been costing us more than other developed nations — and health and wellness includes the ability to have healthy children.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Climate change is real, Exxon knew all along, now it’s time to plan and do, not just talk

Climate change has already been happening. It is past time to stop arguing about whether human activity is a cause and to start transitioning to life on a different planet. We may be uncomfortable talking about it if we feel others aren’t interested or because we don’t know much about it. [ http://michiganradio.org/post/what-keeps-people-talking-about-climate-change#stream/0 ] And we might not know much about it because we have been given misleading information about it. Some in the fossil fuel industry including Exxon has known about climate change as early as 1981 but funded disinformation research and media stories that suggested the problem wasn’t occurring or wasn’t due to human activity. [ http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/exxon-climate-change-1981-climate-denier-funding ][http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/04/06/3766659/fact-97-percent-climate-scientists-climate-change/]

There’s no time like the present, though, to start talking about it. Many people are going to be affected but in different ways around the planet.

Some areas that are already hot may become too hot for humans to live and work safely during more days of the year. The elderly and people with health problems or those working outside might be most at risk. Northern Africa and the Middle East may have greater than average increases in temperature compared to other areas around the world. Syria suffered a severe drought in 2011 which led to food shortages and may have been part of the cause of civil unrest in the nation that has led to ongoing fighting in the nation. [http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/05/18/middle-east-and-north-africa-will-become-uninhabitable-due-to-climate-change/]

Increased health risks and crop and infrastructure damage can also result from more severe dust storms in dry climates. Areas in China have been experiencing loss of fertile land to desertification and an increase in dust storms that wind spreads to affect other areas in Asia as well. The dust can carry airborne disease risks. Erosion control grasses are being planted in some areas with desertification and duststorms.   [http://www.businessinsider.com/china-is-turning-into-a-desert-and-its-causing-problems-across-asia-2016-5]

Building more underground living spaces might help provide a cooler environment naturally and protection from a duststorm. Caves are always around 55’F after a certain depth – fact checker needs to look that up.

Flooding from melting glacier water is a risk in mountainous regions in several regions of the world. The type of flooding is called a glacial lake outburst flood (glof).  The water from the glacier melting collects in lakes at the top of mountain ridges. If too much water collects then surrounding rock and earth can break apart and the lake floods the valley below. is a risk at Thorthormi Glacial Lake in Bhutan. Work to prevent flooding has already been successful over several years of hand labor. The mountain top is too inaccessible to helicopters and unstable for large equipment. Shovels and shoulders are used to move boulders of rock or ice to make channels for the lake waters to drain through. It seems feasible that hydropower equipment could be set up downstream, further down the mountain from the hand digging crew. [http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/summer2013/torrent-consequences ] [ http://climateriskmanagement.org/project-countries.php]

Annual crops that don’t tolerate changes in heat or rainwater can be replaced the next season with types of plants that are more likely to tolerate the more extreme weather conditions. Global warming is a less accurate term than climate change because wet areas are likely to bet wetter, with more extreme storms and flood risks, and dry areas are likely to get hotter and dryer with more risk of drought. Sensitive perennial crops like fruit trees can be affected by earlier thaws followed by refreezing temperatures. The trees blossom early and then the refreeze prevents the fruit from developing. Cherry crops have already been adversely affected by this problem. Climate change and cherries: It’s the pits, (Fe. 2, 2016) https://citizensclimatelobby.org/climate-change-and-cherries-its-the-pits/

Transition planning would suggest that it might be sensible to start planting some more heat tolerant types of fruit trees in the areas that are currently focused on cherry trees and to start some cherry orchards in more northern areas. As the planet warms the types of crops and animals that were once well suited to a region may no longer be able to survive there in a warmer or wetter or dryer climate. Animals might be able to migrate to new areas but fruit trees have to be planted.

Hotter summer temperatures also shorten the growing season for many crops. Soybeans and peanuts are more heat tolerant than corn. Sheep and goats are more heat tolerant and can survive on more sparse forage than cattle. People are moving into urban areas as their coastal or cropland becomes less hospitable but urban areas tend to have even hotter temperatures than rural areas and work may not be available. Staying put and trying to adapt to the changed climate by planting different crops or type of foraging animal might be safer and healthier than trying to migrate to a crowded city. [http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/publication/turn-down-the-heat]

Disappearing coasts and bleached coral reefs are not the only issues to be considered. [http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/04/26/3769440/great-barrier-reef-bleaching/ ]  Fish and aquatic mammals are already having mysterious mass deaths in many areas. Increased temperatures combined with increasing acidity, lower oxygen levels and changes in salinity may all be factors — in addition to oil spills and other pollutants. Lack of fishing would further impact food supply shortages due to smaller crop yields. Planning ahead now could include more focus on soy and peanuts and other legume crops that are protein rich and heat tolerant.

The oceans act somewhat like kidneys for the planet by detoxifying the excess carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere and like the lungs as part of the oxygen/carbon dioxide cycle. Carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere and oxygen is produced within the ocean largely by microbes but also algae and seaweeds. Over half of our atmosphere’s oxygen is produced by ocean plankton and other ocean microbes. That’s just a rough analogy to suggest how important a change in ocean acidity could be to the planet. It’s not just fish on our dinner plate at stake (pun not intended) or the oysters and clams on the half shell but it is also the air we breath our oxygen at stake.

This is a topic that is already impacting lives lets start planning and transitioning to the changing world using sustainable low energy cost methods. Investing in people power and working on strategies for the long term. Rafts built into designs where there’s now beachfront living would be a water-world style transition. Building things starts with ideas and eventually to blueprints and shovels.

The carbon dioxide build up will last for centuries, and increase as we keep adding more to the air. The oceans absorption of carbon dioxide reduces the level in the atmosphere and buffers changes in the global temperature but at the cost of increased  ocean acidity in addition to increased ocean temperature.

The following  is a short article but gets to the point with the title:  “We could be seeing the worst case scenario for climate change now.” [http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2016/05/18/we-could-be-living-through-the-worst-case-scenario-right-now/]

We are already near a 1.5’C average temperature increase. Coral reef bleaching is happening regularly. The glacier and ice sheet melting has been more rapid than anticipated.

Let’s start doing and planning ahead rather than talk about whether climate change exists. What caused it is still an important discussion and topic for ongoing research and data collection by teams around the world because we also need to stop adding to the problem. A 4’C increase by 2100 is predicted to have worse impact than the goal of keeping warming to 2’C but 4’C would be the estimated outcome if we continue at our current rate of carbon dioxide production.

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

People discussing national debt, NSA Security, and peace

Printing money may be one way to help keep interest rates low but over the long term it may lead to worse financial trouble.

People with experience in the topic discuss it in the following articles/video links:

And a veteran discussing semantics in military actions – who is the enemy if we’re not really at war? [http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/opinion/2016/05/14/time-remove-lawyers-war-room/84233792/]

Military expenditures were 54% of our national budget in 2015. So we may be at war with our pocket book and our children’s. [ https://www.nationalpriorities.org/campaigns/military-spending-united-states/]

The National Security Administration underwent significant changes after the 9/11 tragedies. In the following interview with a former NSA employee it is suggested that intelligence reports had been received regarding the intended targets of 9/11 and that many lives could have been saved if NSA had allowed civilians to be warned. After the 9/11 attacks a new branch of NSA was created called NSA Security, which may seem like more security but which may actually have circumvented oversight of the actions taken by our nations’ security administration. [http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/04/nsa-whistleblower-karen-stewart-speaks-candidly-illegal-criminal-nsa-fbi-programs-organized-stalking-electronic-harassment-usa-abroad.html]

And an interview on rewriting the history of peace negotiations:  “Rewriting the history of the peace process, The inconvenient truth about Ehud Barak, Martin Indyk and the Clinton Parameters.” [ http://linkis.com/www.aljazeera.com/in/b7IoL]

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and this information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./