Medicine has made rapid advances in the past few decades to increase the life span in developed countries to about 78 years, but this progress has largely come to a halt in the past decade – the real fact is that the new generation is, in reality for the first time, looking at a declining life span than their forefathers. So as successive Governments and institutions struggle to keep escalating health costs capped, they are losing the battle – we see big waiting lists for various procedures in hospitals – this in fact is not unique to NZ but is a global phenomenon.

The high cost of delivering health care with expensive new technologies has left in its wake a huge burden of creating facilities for the elderly to be looked after, often with very poor quality of life, in their final years. So is this increased life span delivered by present medicine a reasonable option in ones quest to increase longevity? Or should we concentrate on improving basic health to support quality extended years in our later life?

Only recently two interesting reports were released in the media – one showing that New Zealanders had plenty by way of macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fats like most developed countries with no food shortages, but lacked the recommended levels of micronutrients in the foods.

The other report suggested that the addition of preservatives, colouring and additives to food is possibly one of the sources of the growing epidemic of ADD in children.

So we have currently created a situation that the foods we eat normally are lacking in micronutrients but have an abundance of the nasty additives. The net result is a negative double punch that lays a foundation for poor health. This poor nutrition status, along with the negative effects of additives, is further compounded when one starts to think of the manner in which food is grown today the cultivating practices in countries where most of our foods are currently grown. Man-made chemicals are used in almost everything we eat – generally this is not to increase the nutritive value of food but to either increase yields, avoid pests and/or increase the shelf life of foods sold in supermarkets.

Did you know that in the USA every year at least 3000 plus lollies of different types are added to supermarket shelves – basically all containing sugar and additives?

Health is a continuum progress from birth to death and any negative effects along this path will be the start of the disease process. No wonder were are seeing an explosion of disease states globally – ADHD, autism in kids, chronic fatigue, cancers, heart disease, diabetes and increasing problems with obesity and insulin metabolism.

The current medical system is so overwhelmed taking care of mounting disease and its complications – coupled with the population expectation of the best treatment available, that there is no time or resources left to change to a TRUE PREVENTATIVE model of healthcare – inclusive of diet, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes to achieve long term gains.

Currently, without sounding too pessimistic, we are headed ‘one way’ and that is ‘downhill’. It’s going to create an unhealthy community with escalating disease and treatment costs and with long term disability and poor quality of life. So while millions die in parts of the underdeveloped countries from lack of basic nutrition and sanitation, we will suffer from the effect of disease in a ‘sea of plenty’.

This why I have called this column – ‘YOUR HEALTH …..IN YOUR HANDS’

In the ensuing columns I will discuss options to take control of your health and avoid disease.

Please address any correspondence to

Your Health is in Your Hands