Using advertising to change what we think health is
Updated: Aug 14, 2019
While here in Canada preparing for the UCI Masters Mountain Bike World Championships, we have got to spend a lot of time watching Canadian and United States of America television.
Our conclusion is that their media is saturated with advertising for drugs, surgery and cosmetics for plastering over the symptoms of chronic ill health, bad skin, wrinkles and generally the effects of getting older. I thought New Zealand was bad for this, but these countries take the cake. New Zealand is going down the same path. This is a path that fosters ill-health as being the norm with extremely expensive and ineffective drugs and surgical solutions that do nothing to address the root causes of ill health. This path will eventually lead to the bankruptcy of our country.
It is horrifying just how much drugs advertising there is on the television here in Canada. Every ad break includes advertisements for drugs for all kinds of chronic health problems such as allergies and diabetes.
Over-the-counter allergy medications are the most advertised. These drugs contain adrenal and thyroid-damaging substances. Long term use can lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic fatigue, easy bruising, retarded growth, weak bones, gut issues, increased infections, brain fog, weight gain and depressed sex drive.
None of the medications being advertised, including Botox for migraines, will cure anything; they merely suppress symptoms while the diseases continue to covertly gnaw away at their victim's health and vitality.
I'm a huge fan of the Okinawa Centenarian Study which you can read about here:
Centenarians do not rely on a prescription drug, nor should the rest of us. However, what we can see with all of this drugs advertising is millions of people are being told many times daily that the Fountain of Youth lie in a patented potion and getting old is synonymous with disease and disability that must all be managed by drugs and surgery.
What the Okinawa Study tells us is the exact opposite: that we can and should expect to live relatively disease-free lives and to live to a ripe old age nowadays and to do so with little to no need for ongoing medical care.
If we want to live a long, healthy and satisfying life, we do this by concentrating on the basics:
Home or locally grown/raised foods that are prepared from their basic, raw ingredients.
Regular, moderate exercise such as walking and digging the garden.
Strong family and community ties.
Dietary guidelines that are based on the Okinawa lifestyle can be found here:
All drugs should be prescribed on the basis that the benefits greatly outweigh any downsides, which they seldom do over the long term because most drugs treat symptoms and not root causes of ill-health. As one gets older, the benefits from drugs, such as improved quality of life and longevity wane while the downsides become more prominent. By about the age of 70 there are few drugs and few conditions that really are beneficial for quality of life and longevity. The same goes for most surgeries after 70 years because the risks of complications may then outweigh any benefits.
I was talking to a nurse with over 40 years of experience managing nursing homes. The most successful financial models for these facilities seem to rely, to a degree, on resident turnover. There are no financial incentives for them to improve the health and longevity of their residents and this is reflected in the poor wages for front-line staff, poor food and over-reliance on drugs.
Like drugs companies, they are all feeding off the sick and the elderly with no financial incentive to make people well.
When I jokingly said that I guess they take residents off their medications towards "the end" so as to speed up the rate of turnover, she replied matter of factually:
"Oh no - when we we take them off their medications, they live longer!"
Note: if you are on drugs that have been prescribed by a doctor, please do not stop suddenly. Consult your doctor or another health professional and insist on a plan to REMOVE the NEED for the drug.
The way I viewed ageing changed dramatically when I got the job of "First Aider and Trainer" with the first NZ Team to contest the World Masters Athletics Championships. These were held in Sweden in 1977.
Until then, I was working in Dunedin Hospital and Cherry Farm Psychiatric Hospital. These institutions painted a grim picture for old age. I wanted to be dead before I was old. It reminds me much of what is happening in the USA, Canada - and New Zealand - the more we are immersed in an environment that is saturated with disease and disability and for which the only solutions being offered are drugs and surgery, guess what becomes the norm and the actions of first choice? You're right: more drugs and more surgery!
Everything changed for me during those Masters competitions: I was confronted by lithe and nimble 80 years-old athletes leaping hurdles and into water-filled moats, tossing the javelin and generally having a ball.
As far as I could tell, no drugs were involved in any of these performances, just a healthy and optimistic approach to life and no cute animals were harmed in the process!
I was sold on that!