Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Did anyone catch this piece of health news posted at the SP Health News section? I've copied/pasted it below and my rant follows:
Americans' Health Declining: Report
The overall health of Americans declined by 0.3 percent over the past year, even though progress has been made in several key health indicators, according to the 18th annual America's Health Rankings report released Monday by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and the Partnership for Prevention.
Between 1990 and 2000, the United States had annual 1.5 percent increases in overall health. But improvement has stagnated since 2000, the report found. While there have been modest gains in reducing rates of cancer and cardiovascular death rates, these advances are overshadowed by increases in obesity, numbers of uninsured people, children living in poverty, and the continuation of risky health behaviors, such as tobacco use and violent crime.
Obesity has increased from 11.6 percent of the population in 1990 to more than 25 percent (55 million) today. The number of uninsured Americans has risen from 13.4 percent of the population in 1990 to 15.8 percent (47 million) today.
The U.S. continues to trail many other nations in important health indicators such as overall life expectancy, healthy life expectancy and infant mortality. Life expectancy in the U.S. is at its highest point in history (77.9 years) but is behind 43 other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, and Sweden.
In terms of healthy life expectancy -- number of years of active, healthy life expected at birth -- a baby girl born in the U.S. can expect 71 years of healthy life, compared to 78 years for a baby girl born in Japan.
Based on the 20 health measures included in the report, Vermont, Minnesota, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Connecticut ranked as the top five healthiest states, while Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi (the least healthiest state) were the bottom five.
Is this any surprise to folks? I was SO STEAMED UP and still am over this which I believe is further proof that corporate America hardly has John Q. Citizen's health and wellness interests at heart!
Couple this with an example of how corporate enterprise and the media CAN, if they so CHOOSE, pair their forces for GOOD instead of BAD: In Australia they wanted to do something about the hazards of speeding on the roadways. They knew that all the huffing and puffing along the lines of "Don't-Speed-It's-Dangerous" have never worked. So they put some of the creative advertising minds at work.
Have you seen or heard of Tarantino's movie DeathProof? Haven't seen it myself, but have heard from someone of a funny scene in which Kurt Russell revs up his highly-charged car in an attempt to impress a woman, who responds along the lines of, "yawn...big engine, little winky" and crooks her pinky finger at him. Sounds like a great laugh!
Now back to Australia's efforts: their ad-campaign came at the speed problem using this same rationale: Speeders are only trying to make up for their insecurities by revving up their engines! So the billboards use a lot of humor along the "big-engine, little-winky" lines.
Guess what? It's working! All of a sudden it has become so UN-cool to speed!
Now some say: "what we eat is up to ourselves and our free will."
Billions of ad-campaign dollars have tossed free will aside for the majority of Americans who are zonked into TV and other media. This health report statistics above only proves it. Nobody wants to be obese, yet it is on the rise. Hardly because our society deems it more acceptable!
Now if Australia can put the forces behind ad-campaigns to such a laudible purpose as to avoid speeding and speed-related accidents, don't you suppose that similar campaigns could make spinach and broccoli as tempting and desirable and "cool" as Nike, Big Macs and Twinkies?!?!
And furthermore, couldn't corporate America find great wealth and profit in selling spinach, broccoli et. al. via such creative advertising? Look at WATER...! Who among us older farts ever would have dreamed such industry would have sprung up around WATER? Look at how "fashionable" water has become! Why does profit have to revolve around poor health and disease?
We all need to send the message to our restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers that we want healthy foods, health eating promoted.
Corporate America: Use all your capitalistic methods to Razzle Dazzle us into healthy lifestyles!
(of course the vitally important subtext of this is THANK GOD SPARKPEOPLE IS HERE TO SERVE THESE FUNCTIONS!!)