Manila Bulletin

Salt, sex, booze: Lifestyle killers on the rise

- By JOSÉ ABETO ZAIDE “A toxic mix of risks is at work in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa where poor child­hood nutri­tion, con­tam­i­nated wa­ter, un­safe sex, and al­co­hol were all lead­ing causes of death.” HAPPY GRAND­PAR­ENTS DAY! joseabetoz­ Paris · Russia · India · Middle East · United States of America · World Health Organization · World Bank · University of Washington · New Doha International Airport · Melinda Gates

NOW that I have your at­ten­tion, I must con­fess that that head­line wasn’t mine – I lifted it from last Sun­day’s AFP story date­lined Paris. Like you and many other read­ers, I was tit­il­lated by the ti­tle, and read on.

The orig­i­nal ti­tle of this col­umn was: LAST WEEK’S NEWS THAT WASN’T. The AFP ar­ti­cle said: – Bri­tish jour­nal sci­en­tists con­cluded that 79 health haz­ards con­trib­uted to 30.8 mil­lion deaths in 2013, 5.7 mil­lion more than in 1990.

– Deaths world­wide from high blood pres­sure and smok­ing shot up 23 per­cent since 1990. In 2013, high blood pres­sure con­trib­uted to 10.4 mil­lion deaths in 188 coun­tries.

– Smok­ing was the num­ber two dan­ger for men (4.4 mil­lion deaths in 2013; two-thirds lower for women).

– Al­co­hol was No. 2 killer in Rus­sia and among top 10 risks for men in­ter­na­tion­ally (but not for women, who were most at risk from diet like foods high in salt).

– Diet was the sin­gle dead­li­est fac­tor (high in red meat and sug­ary drinks and low in fruits and veg­eta­bles ac­counted for 21 per­cent of deaths in 2013).

– Hunger con­trib­uted to deaths of 1.3 mil­lion chil­dren in 2013 (lead­ing cause of mor­tal­ity for kids un­der five).

– In­dia strug­gles with un­safe wa­ter and child malnutriti­on. In the Mid­dle East and Latin Amer­ica high body mass in­dex (ra­tio be­tween a per­son’s weight and height) was a lead­ing cause of health prob­lems.

– The find­ings were based on WHO and World Bank re­ports, and from roughly 1,000 part­ner sci­en­tists in over 100 coun­tries.

– Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion­funded study found that gen­der and where peo­ple live ac­counted for sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in what led them to get sick or die.

– Co-au­thor of the study Ali Mok­dad of the Univer­sity of Washington con­cludes: “…We are be­hav­ing badly… we know very well that smok­ing kills and that blood pres­sure is another killer… No­body risks not chang­ing the oil in their car, but no­body pays the same at­ten­tion to their own body.”

I missed the three-let­ter word that was the come-on in the ti­tle used, and I had to re-read the AFP ar­ti­cle to find it:

The tit­il­lat­ing ti­tle drew more read­er­ship and proves that sex (oops, the S-word leaked out) sells.

Which re­minds me of the story about Sultan Ab­dul­lah and his eunuch Ab­dul. The Sultan was rich be­yond com­pare and his palace ex­tended as far as the eye could see. He had a harem ex­ceed­ing 300. With such a deep se­lec­tion, Sultan Ab­dul­lah couldn’t re­mem­ber their names.

So, as was his plea­sure, he would call for his choice by her num­ber, like, “25!”, and the eunuch Ab­dul would run and fetch No. 25.

“7!”...And Ab­dul would run (huff…huff…puff…puff…), and fetch No. 7.

“108” …And Ab­dul would run (huff…huff…puff…puff…), and fetch No. 108.

Day-in, day-out, that was the rou­tine in the palace.

Sultan Ab­dul­lah lived to a ripe old age of 89 years. The faith­ful Ab­dul passed away at 29 years.

The morale of the story: It’s not do­ing it that kills you: …it’s run­ning af­ter it! Grand­par­ents Day was cel­e­brated in­ter­na­tion­ally last Septem­ber 13. It is a spe­cial day to thank them for their love and to rec­og­nize their con­tri­bu­tion to fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.. Here, lolo and lola are given the bonus of sales tax and VAT dis­counts at restau­rants and for pur­chases of medicine and other items for an ef­fec­tive 33% off. The late Am­bas­sador Greg Abad, a bon homie and racon­teur, said that he loved be­ing a grand­fa­ther… It was only the thought of be­ing mar­ried to a grand­mother that bugged him.

DID YOU KNOW DEPT. DOH marked Sept. 9-13 as Na­tional Sui­cide Preven­tion Week. Cu­ri­ously, it had only 5 in­stead of the 7 days of the week, ex­clud­ing Mon­day and Tues­day. (Short­en­ing the week, like it short­ened the life span.) The Philip­pine Psy­chi­atric As­so­ci­a­tion said sui­cide is the ninth lead­ing cause of death among Filipinos. Con­grat­u­la­tions to all of us sur­vivors, de­spite traf­fic woes which drive us to de­spair. FEED­BACK:

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