Within the public and the government we are constantly reactive to acute conditions and spend fortunes in attempting to eliminate or alleviate them. Think of the funds spent on road safety, seat belts, helmets, speed restrictions, road and vehicle improvements. Think of the health industry, OSH, hospitals and emergency services, all focussing on acute conditions by elimination or alleviation of their occurrence and dealing with the relatively few deaths that occur from acute conditions.
On the other hand, we are determinedly careful to avoid controlling, or legislating, the causes of chronic conditions. Food and lifestyle choices are manifestly left to the individual. Only when a chronic condition becomes acute do we step in with massive medical intervention.
There are occasional lapses to this law. Smoking has now been determined to be the cause of a high acute caring cost; we are now no longer able to make entirely free choices for this habit.
However in food choices we are free. We are free to allow processed and other dangerous foods to modify our brains and bodies to the extent that obesity, heart attacks, diabetes, cancer and many other chronic conditions will set in, secure in the thought that once they become acute help will be at hand. We ignore the enormous cost to the individual, the families and the nation that is being perpetuated by this free choice.
Food production is controlled by a few exceedingly powerful groups. It is their determination to maintain their profits through marketing and lobbying, that keeps us in this subservient mind set. We and our leaders remain blinded to the damage wrought by so much of the food sold, with the fatuous thought that our freewill is more important than our’s or the nation’s health, impacting on a far wider group than ever deaths from acute conditions ever will.
Chronic conditions kill far more people than acute conditions. Premature deaths from heart disease and cancer out number road deaths by a factor of 40 to one, yet the media are awash with stories of road deaths, with nary a mention of those whose early demise was caused by a chronic condition.
It is time we recognised this huge discrepancy and along with our law makers, took control of those factors causing so much chronic, untimely pain, misery and death.