An Open Letter To: Bill & Melinda Gates, Mark Zuckerburg & Priscilla Chan, Larry Page & Sergey Brin.
As a health professional I'm inspired by your collective efforts to make a meaningful impact on world health issues but I'd like to challenge the current approach. We are missing a huge opportunity to reduce up to 80% of most chronic disease today.
Imagine if millions of people drowned each year due to lack of aquatic skills and we, as a society, thought it reasonable to invest most resources into finding a cure for human drowning instead of teaching people how to swim properly.
How so? Current research shows we have the potential to eliminate up to 80% of most chronic disease TODAY without any further research or additional knowledge.
No - that's not a typo.
The collective research tells us it's possible if we can help people adopt healthy lifestyle habits including smoking cessation, weight control, stress reduction, and proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition habits. It's astounding to even consider the possibility. Such an approach would leave only 20% of current disease levels to manage and cure.
And this isn't just a problem for wealthy countries like the US. In fact poor countries are disproportionately affected by chronic disease.
The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide, chronic diseases will account for double "the number of deaths from all infectious diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined." And is "an under-appreciated cause of poverty [that] hinders the economic development of many countries."
Imagine the positive impact in our communities worldwide of even a five or ten percent reduction, especially among the under privileged who are disproportionately affected.
I believe this is one of the donation and investment travesties of our time. The majority of research and investment dollars for health projects related to chronic disease is devoted to either finding a cure or managing the disease. This leaves very little investment for innovative, preventative solutions which have the greatest potential for immediate impact.
Although I do have many ideas I'm currently pursuing on this topic, I don't profess to have all the answers. This problem deserves and requires more well-funded teams of innovative, intelligent, and passionate people dedicated to finding the right solutions. But to do so, it needs more love, acknowledgement and support from powerful influencers like yourselves.
In summary, your collective efforts are both admirable and inspiring and need to continue but they are missing an enormous opportunity to potentially reduce up to 80% of most chronic disease today. Don't wait for a cure. Use the knowledge and research we already have and take action immediately to minimize chronic disease and the associated suffering and loss of life. Donate and invest more heavily in preventative health solutions. The world desperately needs it.
Rich Millar, MPH
Rich currently works in the Bay Area in Healthcare Administration. He holds a bachelor's degree in dietetics and a master's in public health. In his spare time he's on a personal mission to save the world from chronic disease, premature death and obesity through a number of projects including HealthMovement.com (Beta), LifestyleHealth12.com and another project still waiting for a catchy name.
Rant coming in 3, 2, 1...driving to work today I saw a sign for a 3-day cleanse for $99. If you just got excited and want to know where you can get it...slap yourself, then do it again. I'm so frustrated by the endless garbage of health fads/products/diets. And cleanses are one of those that just won't go away. Cleanses are a scam, period. Why? Because they don't eliminate your body of toxins built up in your body because there aren't toxins built up in your body that your body isn't already taking care of (if you want proof just ask me and I'll point you to some resources). There are zero studies that can tell you a single "toxin" that a cleanse will help with. Your body naturally disposes of waste/harmful products through normal body systems like your kidneys, liver and bathroom breaks. Not only do cleanses not cleanse your body of harmful substances they often are high in sugars (yes even "natural fruit sugar" is still sugar and too much in juice form is not good). Please save your money and your body by taking that money and buying whole (not juiced) veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes etc., cut back on the processed food or purchase something that will help you sleep better or exercise more. Here's a guarantee you can take to the bank: if you do the latter instead of the former, I guarantee you be healthier and reach your health goals faster. You don't have to give any money to anyone (including me) to start living healthier. You can do it on your own. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you and trying to take your money. Having said that, if you've tried and tried on your own and feel stuck and really want some help establishing healthy habits long term, there are legitimate/reliable programs and people out there who can help and your money is much better spent there. Here's one such program, it consists of 150 pages of the best advice I could give you, and comes with a money back guarantee: https://www.lifestylehealth12.com/
I am first and foremost a husband to my amazing wife and a father to our sweet daughter and little boy.