Friday, May 1, 2009

Get a grip, people!

Ok, I could regret posting this. Maybe the swine flu could actually turn into the most deadly virus on the planet. Maybe this cough I have is actually H1N1, maybe it'll kill millions!...but I doubt it. It's not that I want to belittle the lives lost to this bug du jour, but I think we need to put things in perspective. So while the World Health Organization has declared the H1N1 virus an epidemic, here are some numbers to make one think...
  • 30,000-40,000 Americans die from the flu each year. (That's just the regular ol' influenza, people.)
  • worldwide 250,000-500,000 people die from the flu each year
  • 40 million people died from the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918
  • to date about 160 people have died from the swine flu
  • there are 20 million people in Mexico City, which is considered the epicenter of the outbreak...
  • so that means .0000008% of the population of Mexico City have died from Swine Flu
The media has hyped this story beyond words. But it makes me wonder, what if the media talked 24/7 about the obesity epidemic in America? Here are some stats on illnesses and deaths each year due to obesity*:
  • 24 million Americans have diabetes
  • 71,000 Americans die from diabetes
  • 100 million Americans have high blood pressure or hypertension
  • 652,000 Americans die from heart disease
  • 500,000 Americans die from cancers
Just a thought. But unlike the flu, which has a finite period of infection, obesity related problems take more than a face mask (I guess you could wear to cut back on eating) or killing all the hogs in the country to solve the problem. The remedy? Moving more and eat less. So simple, yet so _____________...

Back to the flu...Want to cut the spread of it?
  • wash your frickin' hands!
  • cough into your elbow, not your hands
  • keep your fingers out of your mouth, nose and eyes
So simple, yet so often ignored.

* these numbers are from CDC.gov. Not all deaths and illnesses listed are due solely to obesity. Genetics, prescription drug side effects, etc can play a role as well.

4 comments:

micki said...

The newspaper headlines may as well have read:

Get a grippe!

micki said...

During all the feverish flu fulminating, at least two news organizations kept cooler heads.

ABC News' in-house doctor, Tim Johnson, said the media were overreacting. The Los Angeles Times reported that scientists believe the virus may do less damage than run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks.

That's why 24/7 CABLE NEWS is dangerous to your health!

TP said...

Yeah, Kristin!

Love it. The obesity trend is causing such an upswing in adolescent onset diabetes, they are calling it "Diabesity!"

Priorities, people.

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