I often talk about the greatest challenge to our health in the 21st century with the two following factors being my starting point. I believe that when we understand these, then we are in a better position to take control of our health.
In 2003 a policy statement by the American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry read…
“Frequent consumption of sugars in any beverage can be a significant factor in the child or adolescent diet that contributes to the initiation and progression of dental cavities.”
In 2004 Pepsi donated $1M to the organisation and the public health message changed subtly…
“Scientific evidence is certainly not clear on the exact role that soft drinks play in terms of children’s oral disease”
2. The second issue is the naivety of the stakeholders, from health care professionals, regulatory bodies, professional health organisations and governments in recognising this serious issue. I recently spoke to a senior PhD researcher who genuinely was concerned at the fact that the pharmaceutical industry was not taken more seriously in the area of health and wellness. I asked him who he felt the major stakeholders were for the company. It was a rhetorical question, because the major stakeholders are of course the shareholders, and they are required, by law, that the company make the biggest profit they can deliver. That means selling more drugs to more people. So I pointed out to the researcher that if people were healthy and well they would not require drugs to manage their “illness” and so there was a serious conflict of interest.
I believe that if you are truly going to take control of your own health, understanding how sophisticated marketing has become and the difference between chronic disease management and true healthcare, then this adds the central foundation which brings us from confusion to clarity.
When we understand that we, both the public and, more insidiously, health practitioners are being marketed to all the time, then we can step back from the hype, with a basic knowledge of those factors which threaten our health and the simplicity of what is required to enjoy good health.