COVID-19: we are an unhealthy country
Updated: Mar 4
We are an unhealthy lot - yes, we really are and its time we did something about it. If we were healthy, there would be no unnecessary deaths from this COVID-19 pandemic.
New Zealand - AKA Godzone
When I was a child during the 50s and 60s, New Zealand competed to be in the top countries in the developed world for just about every measure of health and well-being, sidling up to countries like Sweden, Norway and Finland. New Zealand now competes with countries like the USA and the UK for the title of being the most unhealthy country in the developed world! With this appalling drop in just about every standard of living and health worth caring about, so the risk has risen for New Zealanders dying from disease, rather than old age. We can see this in action by the deaths from or with COVID in Brazil, Spain, the USA and the UK. These and other countries, where the virus has taken hold, are unhealthy, sometimes despite their apparent wealth. Poverty, poor nutrition, an ageing population and an excessive reliance on drugs for healthcare are common themes. New Zealand is near the top with these.
Time for a reality check
We are now an unhealthy country, of this there is no question and something I feel ashamed to admit. We are probably the most obese nation in the world. We are one of the most medicated nations as well. Diseases, once associated with the old, are now common in our young people. Gallstones, for example. Young people in NZ will live shorter lives than their Baby-Boomer parents and grandparents. I don't know about you, but this is horrifying to me.
Why and how do we die - all of us?
Just because a person is "old", this does not mean a person must be more vulnerable to diseases like COVID-19. I agree that the elderly, as with so many others, are increasingly vulnerable to infections, but it is not because they are "old" per se. They are vulnerable for other reasons. Very few people die of old age today: instead, they die from a mix of malnutrition and medication side-effects. Not usually from old age. They die of the consequences of neglect.
Very few people die of old age today: instead, they die from a mix of malnutrition and medication side-effects.
In a healthy ecosystem, every creature has a role, often several. One role for bacteria and viruses is to cull the weak and the dying. This ensures all forms of life remain robust. Life thrives via death. Microorganisms break the dead down to their nutrient constituents, creating space and releasing these nutrients into the soil so the next generation can flourish. This is the Cycle of Life. We are an intimate part of this process and we can not escape it - no matter our fame or wealth.
Healthy people have little to fear from microbes. It is possible to live a long, healthy, productive and enjoyable life and to die peacefully and without misery, but what is "healthy"? I must answer this important question in an article soon.
Why is it we now think it is "normal" to be on medication at any age, that obesity is the new "normal", that being ill and arthritic is inevitable and normal with old age? Why is it a virus that is equivalent to a bad flu terrifies us? Why is it we throw the world's economy into chaos while we huddle in basements with our children? Why are we so weak and vulnerable that we must take such drastic action?
Understanding how we got into this collective prison is the first step to coming up with solutions for getting out.
Things that got us all into such a terrible situation:
Malnutrition is now the norm.
Food high in calories while low in nutrients, and it's getting worse.
The intensification of food production, monoculture with reliance on chemicals.
We eat food contaminated during production by immune-damaging chemicals such as glyphosate.
Food damaged by excessive processing, the life in it killed for storage.
Chemicals added to food to preserve, colour, flavour, texture and more.
Exercise, especially exercise in the outdoors, has declined drastically.
The death of NZ's sporting and outdoor culture (COVID has been the last nail in the coffin).
Obesity rates are at historically high levels (obesity is an indicator of an unhealthy lifestyle).
Water quality has declined while we export the best.
Nitrates and arsenic in tap water are increasing, damaging the health of countless thousands of people for generations to come.
Immune-damaging fluoride added to water.
90% of us are vitamin D deficient, thanks to the SunSmart Campaign. Vitamin D has many functions, including immune regulation.
Stress is up, with everyone working longer hours for less and barely a break. Chronic stress weakens the immune system.
Poor housing, crowding and homelessness are worse than ever. Infections run rampant where there is crowding, damp, poor ventilation and heating.
Trying to compete with low-wage economies by suppressing incomes - making people work harder, longer and for less.
Much of this is best summarised with one word: POVERTY!
The rise of "germophobia". Excessive hygiene produces a weak immune system.
The hijacking of medicine and healthcare by Big Business. Making a buck now dominates healthcare at every level and in every sector.
The disempowering of the General Medical Practitioner and the rise of the Medical Specialist and the Health Bureaucrat. We no longer have one health professional at the "coal face" who is in control of healthcare and able to take a holistic overview of a person's healthcare.
The massive increase in immune-suppressing patent medications, such as for managing asthma, depression and cardiovascular disease.
The Tsunami of ageing Baby-Boomers is now upon us. They are dying.
Food-like substances masquerading as food
What have I overlooked?
More people are dying than ever before
COVID or no COVID, deaths in most developed countries are going up, and will keep going up for the next 30 years. There is nothing we can do about it. It is becoming time for post-war Baby-Boomers to depart this world. It is just a matter of how and when. Many of us become so frail that even the Common Cold might kill us. For others, regardless of age, colds, flus and other infections are not that much of a problem. These are the healthy ones who live to a ripe old age, eventually dying peacefully in their sleep. There are few people in this last group. We should all be in it.
What can we do about it?
We can reverse the decline in population health and well-being. The problem is, COVID-19 allows Governments to avoid the deeply embedded and difficult issues that confront us while we deploy all hands to the pumps of crisis management. Our current Government, was first elected on the promise of "Transformational Change". The pandemic let them off the hook. There has been no transformational change. Things are getting a lot worse.
Off the top of my head, here are some solutions:
Place a penalty tax on sugary and junk foods.
Take GST off all fresh foods that are grown in NZ.
Move away from industrial food production and encourage high-value organics.
Measure and publish the chemicals, nutrient content and nutrient density found in our food.
Begin transitioning to a high-wage economy.
Formulate a "Population Policy" for NZ, including deciding what is the optimimum population and its composition for this land.
When I was at school, there were cooking classes. We need to teach the basics of how to prepare healthy food.
Clean up our waterways, including aquifers.
Ban the export of water until every New Zealander has clean water in their taps and only export at a premium price.
Get toxic fluoride out of our water and invest in primary dental health and hygiene.
Roll back the SunSmart programme and encourage getting sunlight on one's body, the dose determined by skin-type.
Run national campaigns to get New Zealand active again, such as the "Have a Go" and "Women on the Move" campaigns of many years ago.
Stop the war on natural therapies and natural health professionals and get away from our obsession with drugs as being the one and only solution.
Re-empower the General Medical Practitioner, including funding them so they can spend time with their patients, coordinating holistic healthcare services.
New Zealand has already spent around $50 billion on its pandemic response and only God will ever know the full cost to this country. The vaccine rollout looks like being a billion dollars on its own with no end in sight (Annual boosters are already being signalled). We are borrowing at low interest rates. The lenders will bump up the interest rates for repayments later on. The more we are in debt, the more they will own us. This is our gift to our children.
If there were measures in place to bring about healthy transformational change, I would not have such a big problem with lockdowns, isolation, fear-mongering, vaccines and other unhealthy measures to counter this pandemic. They would be more tolerable. But if we think a vaccine is going to somehow magically get us out of this prison and return us to normal life, health, happiness and prosperity, dream on!
Viruses are everywhere. They constantly mutate. We pollute and poison the world. We overcrowd it with ageing and increasingly unhealthy people. What is going to happen when the next pandemic one comes along? More of the same? Is there not a better way? Of course, there is!