Earlier this week, I listened to Dr. David Katz being interviewed on the MindBodyGreen podcast. I have been thinking about it (and listening to it over again) ever since. Dr. Katz received his MD From the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and has a Masters of Public Health from Yale University School of Public Health. He completed sequential residencies in Internal Medicine and Preventative/Public Health. All this to say, professionals like Dr. Katz have deep expertise and use science to interpret data correctly to offer sensible guidance. There is so much great information shared that I encourage you to listen to the podcast yourself!
Living Amidst an Infodemic
As I was ruminating on the information Dr. Katz shared, I came across a Facebook post from a friend stating ‘This disease does not discriminate.’ While this may or may not be true, Covid-19 does have a strong preference for who it will affect most severely and that is something that is not being spoken of enough. Here are some things to consider:
- A 2018 study out of UNC-Chapel Hill determined that only 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy
- Metabolic health was defined as ‘normal body weight and optimal levels of five factors: blood glucose, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference without the need for medication
- All of these factors benefit from lifestyle intervention
Let that sink in – 12% of Americans being metabolically healthy means that 88% are not. AND some experts believe 12% is an inflated statistic!
- The worst Covid cases and outcomes are highly correlate with individuals who have chronic health conditions
- Long term health liabilities (chronic conditions) develop over time, they creep up on you (pre-diabetic, borderline hypertensive . . .), hiding in plain sight, but impair immune system function and inflammation increasing the likelihood of poor outcomes
- Our society is so used these long term health liabilities that they are considered ‘normal’
Poor Health in America is Greatest Risk
Simply stated, health in America is terrible – 60% of people have chronic health conditions — 40% of Americans have two or more. If Americans on their way to developing these conditions are included, the size of the at-risk population is staggering. Unfortunately, it is the norm, not the exception, to be overweight and in less than ideal health in the United States.
Reasons to Be Optimistic
While this may sound scary, it is important to remember that all of these conditions can be positively impacted by changes to lifestyle. Have this information puts us in the driver’s seat, not the virus. Dr. Katz reminds us that ‘a lot of what makes us vulnerable to poor outcomes is within our control and can be changed by orders of magnitude in days to weeks to months.’ The good doctor was very clear and we here at FiT are in total agreement – we must respect this virus because the minute we don’t, it will kill someone we love. However, we can and should be taking steps every day and in every way possible to address the long term health liabilities that are linked to poor outcomes. Sars-CoV-2 is not going anywhere and a vaccine could be years away.
‘The acute threat of Covid shines a spotlight on the chronic liabilities in American health. There has never been a more crucial time to think about all the ways we can engage in health promotion . . .’ Dr. Katz states.
The declining health of America has been a public health issue for decades. Covid is an acute reason to address the decline once and for all. It’s a win-win proposition as improving health not only dramatically reduces the risk of poor outcomes from Covid, but generally speaking, healthier people live happier lives. Whether you feel safest continuing to shelter in place or you are comfortable venturing out in the world with appropriate precautions, there has never been a better time to address the aspects of your lifestyle that are keeping you from optimal health.
Get on the Right Track
FiT’s Health Optimization Program has been supporting clients all over the country to adjust their lifestyle to optimize health for years. We are excited to announce an enhancement and expansion to this program through a new partnership with Dr. Yumi Ando. Together we are offering clients a program combining medical oversight, biometric tracking, and coaching on lifestyle interventions to take meaningful and lasting control of their health. Click here to take charge of your health and improve your quality of life today!