Health is a popular topic and an enormous source of controversy in America. Many Americans are interested in improving their health, energy level, beauty, weight and mind through mainstream and alternative methods. Many honest individuals have approached this desire with a willingness to assist Americans in improving their health. But discovering the reality of health and wellness requires rigorous research and many researchers come to the wrong conclusions about health through little or no fault of their own. Also, many individuals are unable to afford healthy products and treatments.
Some nations socialize medicine. This means that healthcare for individuals is funded partially or fully through taxes. Socialization makes health care more available and affordable, but critics fear it forces governments to raise taxes too high and that the quality of health care suffers when competition is reduced. Competition is greater in private health care systems, since more highly skilled doctors can charge greater amounts for their practices. However, in this system, health care can be difficult or impossible to afford for many people.
The concept of a well-balanced meal has changed over time. Currently, the U.S. Drug Administration food pyramid recommends that most Americans consume 6 to 11 servings of breads, 2 to 4 servings of fruit, 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, 2 to 3 servings of meat and 2 to 3 servings of milk daily.
While few disagree with high vegetable intake, others worry about the content of sugar in fruits. Nutrition specialists often believe that red meats are bad for the heart and have some carcinogenic properties, though many of the research findings are debated. Some argue that milk has no real nutritional value and that calcium and vitamin D can only be digested in vegetables. Others worry that there are hormones found in cow milk that are not intended for humans. Though the food pyramid encourages a high intake of breads, cereals, pastas, and rice, diet advocates differ.
There are a large number of contradictory diets promising to help lower obesity. Some diets advocate that you mostly only eat one type of food like cabbage, lemonade, chicken soup, grape fruits, and water. Most of these diets can lead to malnutrition, since none of these foods provide all the nutrients that a healthy body needs. Some diets eliminate a type of food like fatty foods, sugary foods, carbohydrates, meats and cooked food. These diets rarely lead to permanent weight loss and may have harmful side effects. The food industry has made many efforts to alter food and decrease the amount of calories, fats, and sugars that dieters get from a particular food. But many of these alterations do not work and some of the artificial additives have been found to be harmful to the health of the consumer.
Stress, lack of exercise, trans-fat and sugar intake has caused rising diabetes levels in America. According to the American Diabetes Association in 2008, 8% of Americans are estimated to have diabetes. The diabetes rate doubled over the past 30 years. Diabetes rates are expected to double again in 10 years. Diabeties is often accompanied with heart disease, blindness and high blood pressure. In 2002, diabetes caused 224,092 deaths. In 2007, diabetes cost Americans $174 billion.
Food Contamination and Processing
The food industry often experiences contamination scares in which certain foods are found to have deadly diseases and chemicals like salmonella. Also, some processed foods might contain chemicals or pieces of metal that can be harmful to consumers. The food industry is constantly working to develop less harmful processing methods.
The American pharmaceutical industry has often been charged with releasing medicines with dangerous side effects, refusing to research potentially beneficial medicines that might not be profitable, and charging excessive amounts of money for their medicines. Doctors have also been accused of prescribing medications to patients that are unnecessary in order to receive monetary compensation for marketing the medicines. In 2007, antidepressants and Provigil were recalled for causing suicidal tendencies in patients. Epogen/Aranesp, Actos, Zelnorm and Avandia were reported to cause heart problems. Byetta might cause pancreitis. Xolair can potentially cause asphyxia. Fentora can cause death if taken in inappropriate doses. These are all very well known drugs that were approved by the FDA. Dr. David Graham of the FDA was quoted as saying that those in charge of approving and withdrawing drugs are often the same person in that this “create a conflict of interest.”