Junkfood Science: “Don’t worry, be happy”

September 14, 2007

“Don’t worry, be happy”

We end this week with good news.

There’s been so much good news recently about the state of our health and that of children. This has clearly distressed alarmists. To keep their gloomy myths alive, they’ve tried to: A). bury the news and B). convince us that good is really bad.

With people not buying any of that, they’ve added plan C: scream louder. As Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of Weight Concern, told the BBC news this week: “We are not making enough progress!”

Facts have such a troublesome habit of getting in the way of agendas. Let’s look at three major new health reports that all brought good news.

The provisional report of the 2006 National Health Interview Survey was released a few weeks ago. This is the annual health survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics to give an ongoing picture of the health of U.S. adults. As hard as reports may have tried to present the findings as bad news, it bore good news:

88% of Americans reported that they were in good to excellent health! And about 20% of them said their health had improved over the past year.

That is pretty remarkable, especially given the nonstop drumbeat trying to convince us that we’re all fat, diseased and doomed by unhealthy foods, air and water. Even normal human conditions are supposedly diseases we never knew we had, like restless legs, irritable bowels and the newest one on me: forward head syndrome! [Mom always told you to sit up straight!] The human spirit is resilient.

Wednesday, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released the United States life expectancy figures for 2005. It, too, brought good news:

Life expectancy rates in our country have reached an all-time record high, with people born today projected to live nearly 78 years. That’s an increase of nearly ten years in average life expectancies since 1955.

“This is good news,” said co-author Donna Hoyert, a health scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics. “It's even better news that it is a continuation of trends, so it is a long period of continuing improvement.”

Death rates from the major causes of death continue to fall: Heart disease is down to 21.03 per 10,000 people from 21.7 the previous year; cancer deaths have fallen to 18.38 per 10,000 from 18.58 the previous year; and death rate from strokes have dropped to 4.66 per 10,000 from 5 the previous year. We’re now dying from diseases associated with the most advanced aging, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Hoyert said the CDC expects the steady increase in life expectancy to continue. [Of course, doomsdayists worked hard to try and persuade us this was bad news, hoping people won’t want to think too hard about their claims. See “2+2=5.”]

And finally, the director of the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ann Veneman, made a stunning announcement yesterday, saying:

This is a historic moment. More children are surviving today than ever before.

Deaths of children worldwide, helped by modern healthcare, have dropped to a record low of 9.7 million from the annual 13 million deaths in 1990. Published international data found that measles immunization had reduced child mortality by 60% worldwide and 75% in the sub-Saharan region. With continual efforts to reduce childhood infectious disease, the UN hopes to reduce child deaths by more than half over the next decade.

If you’re tempted to believe that things today are so scary, ominous and dire, it can help to stick with the facts. Don’t worry, be happy now. :)

© 2007 Sandy Szwarc

Bookmark and Share