Bad lifestyle: The most deadly disease in America (via The Future Well)

I just finished reading the new Heath Brothers book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard:

Over the course of the last 100 years, clean water, vaccines, and antibiotics have doubled our life expectancy. However, a 65 year old today can expect to live only 6 more years than a 65 year old one hundred years ago. We’ve solved the simple acute problems and now we’re left scratching our heads trying to figure out how we can change our culture’s behavior. Unfortunately, the business model of changing behavior for the better is a bit murky. It’s much easier to make money bottling up pills and performing surgeries. But the future of health in the developed world depends almost exclusively on changing our behavior for the better by eating greener, exercising, and finding happiness. However, the tools we’ve used to solve acute problems in America– public health measures and medical care from doctors–will only sustain our nation’s health, not improve it in a significant way at the population level. Doctors therefore need new tools to tackle “bad lifestyle” if they want to significantly impact health over the next century. Either they stand aside and let behavioral/lifestyle professionals take over prevention and chronic disease management or they take the initiative and become the leaders in the medical/cultural/anthropological space.

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