Several weeks ago, I wrote on the topic of insurance, and the importance of having enough to protect your family should something happen to you. As part of my research for the article, I dug deep into the statistics involving the most likely factors that can lead to one’s early demise. According to public health organization, The Population Reference Bureau, there are four primary causes of premature death in the United States – poor diet, high blood pressure, obesity and tobacco use.
What stood out to me most about this study was all four leading causes are preventable, and 3 of the 4 or directly impacted by what we eat. While this study was done prior to the pandemic, leading research by the CDC confirms obesity greatly increases one’s likelihood of being hospitalized or dying from this virus as well.
With this much data showing the dangers of smoking and obesity you might think the cultural trend would be moving to a healthier diet and lifestyle for both. However, unlike tobacco use which has seen a steady and drastic reduction over the past few decades, the trendlines for obesity have moved in the opposite direction. According to the CDC, in the past 20 years obesity prevalence has gone up over 25%, and the prevalence of severe obesity has nearly doubled.
While I would like to say that I am not represented in these trends, I would be lying if I did. I myself have gained quite a lot of weight over the timeframe referenced by the CDC. The causes are multiple, part of it is a reduction in activity and a slowing metabolism related to aging. Part of it is the busyness of life that has caused me to rely too heavily on prepackaged and unhealthy meal options. But if I am honest, the primary cause is my own unintentional and undisciplined behavior.
What bothers me most about this confession is, much of what I do as a Registered Investment Advisor Representative is encourage others to be intentional and disciplined in their own behaviors. The reality is the same rules and practices that lead one to be financially healthy are the same ones that encourage good physical health.
For example, I will often say, spend less than you make and your net worth will automatically grow. But the same general rule applies to your weight, consume less calories than you use and your weight will automatically shrink. Despite this commonly understood causal relationship, too many people have far too small of a bank account, and far too large of a belly.
I have come to the realization that if I want to truly practice what I preach, when it comes to responsible decision making, it can’t only be in the area of finance. It must also apply to areas of my own life where I may not be being quite so intentional.
That’s why I have kicked off a personal goal of mine to drop the extra 15-20 lbs. I have picked up over the past decade or so. I know it won’t be easy, but much like getting your financial house in order, it begins with making a decision to take that first step.
Accountability is key in these types of endeavors, and making this declaration to all of you is an easy way to create that for myself. If you know you need to get an area of your life under control, whether it be diet, finances or something else, I would be happy to be that accountability partner for you too. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can begin sharing our wins, our losses and our struggles with one another.