“Lifestyle diseases share risk factors similar to prolonged exposure to three modifiable lifestyle behaviours—smoking, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity—and result in the development of chronic diseases, specifically heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and some types of cancer.”
Stress Pandemic contains my Nine Natural Steps which are a lifestyle solution to help you deal with today’s “lifestyle” diseases. What is a “lifestyle” disease? A lifestyle disease is essentially any disease—physical or mental—whose cause can be traced to lifestyle decisions. And while everyday stress is a leading lifestyle factor, harmful amounts of stress are preventable if a balanced way of life and attitude are adopted such as those outline in my Nine Natural Steps: Take Charge, Kick Your Bad Habits, Learn to Say “No”, Affirmations, Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep, The Power of Awareness, and Don’t Give Up.
A lifestyle disease is associated with the way a person or group of people lives. Lifestyle diseases include atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke; obesity and type 2 diabetes; and diseases associated with smoking and alcohol and drug abuse. Lifestyle diseases appear to become ever more widespread presently as countries become more industrialized and for the first time in history these lifestyle diseases kill more people than communicable ones.
In fact, the scale and disastrous potential of these diseases recently led the United Nations to call only its second high-level summit on a health issue this past September (the first was over Aids in 2001). Cancers, heart disease, diabetes, strokes and lung conditions already cost rich countries considerably in terms of the health bills and productive life span of their citizens. But the blight of what the World Health Organization (WHO) calls the “non-communicable diseases” (NCDs) is rapidly spreading across all parts of the globe, fuelled by obesity as a result of bad diet and sedentary lifestyles, together with alcohol and smoking. These diseases were responsible for around 36 million of the 57 million global deaths in 2008, including about 9 million deaths before the age of 60, many of which are preventable.
While countries such as the United States have imposed smoking bans, heavy taxation on cigarettes and alcohol as well as restricted junk food advertising to children, most developing countries have yet to address these issues. That combined with the fact that the food, alcohol and tobacco industries in these developing countries have not only adopted marketing and production strategies there that would be unacceptable in Europe or in north America but have dispatched powerful lobbyists to bolster their sales, only fans the flames of this growing epidemic.
Fiscally speaking, treating these diseases — and the unsuccessful attempts to “cure” them — costs more than one-seventh of the United States’ GDP. In a recent issue of the magazine Circulation, the American Heart Association editorial board reported that costs in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death here and in much of the rest of the world — will triple by 2030, to more than $800 billion annually. Increase this amount by about $276 billion of what they call “real indirect costs,” i.e. productivity, and you have over a trillion dollars total.3
We are living in a dangerous time filled with unrelenting, dangerous levels of stress. However instead of preventing stress from destroying our lives, we are feeding into stress by developing bad habits such as drinking, smoking and eating the wrong kinds of foods. This behavior is what causes lifestyle diseases and it is these lifestyle diseases which are not only wreaking havoc on our planet but killing us.
But the good news is that we can fight back in realizing that prevention is the key. For you can prevent these lifestyle diseases the same way you cause them: lifestyle. And this is precisely what my book Stress Pandemic embraces in its Lifestyle Solution. Through following my 9 Natural Steps, you can begin the journey toward true optimal health and well-being.
I look forward to guiding you on your journey!