Professor Grant Schofield – Public Health: How Are We Doing?

We are living longer than we were a hundred years ago. Professor Grant Schofield talks to Unstress Health about what can we do to improve health.

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Has our quality of life kept up with the improvement in our quantitative life?

We are living longer than we were a hundred years ago, but the quality of the extra thirty years we are alive has deteriorated.

Unstress Health spoke to Professor Grant Schofield, a Professor of Public Health in Auckland, New Zealand, about the state of public health.

The average person living in Australia or New Zealand is estimated to lose about twelve years of quality life due to poor health and disability. A third of elderly people require one-on-one care. It is not something one aspires to, in fact, the biggest wish for the majority of people is to enjoy good health until the day they die.

The Poor State Of Public Health

We may be living longer than our grandparents did however, the quality of the extra twenty to thirty years we have gained is often poor due to disability. If you think of public health in terms of the number of years we are living, we are doing very well. The quality of those extra years is a problem, though.

Almost everyone will be affected by one chronic disease or another, maybe even more than one. We must be doing something wrong. The modern working environment means we are no longer as active as we were a hundred years ago and the food industry has us eating large amounts of ultra-processed foods. 

We are living under an “Illusion of evidence-based medicine” which was the title of an article published recently in the British Medical Journal.

The public is under the impression that the decision-makers, the policymakers, have only our best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. Whether it is nutrition, exercise or medication, money, politics and marketing have the biggest say. You must be an advocate for your own health.

Practical Advice From Professor Grant Schofield

Non-communicable diseases, or chronic diseases, are by far the biggest health challenge people are facing in the world today. Most people are going to develop at least one during their lifetime. Chronic diseases often occur together because they are all related. They conclude conditions such as:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depression and Anxiety

8 Key Factors To Improve Health:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat whole food.
  • Limit your intake of sugars and carbohydrates.
  • Practice intermittent fasting.
  • Manage your screen time – take note of how many times you open your phone.
  • Use the stress caused by hot and cold water and/or saunas to your benefit.
  • Commitment therapy/meditation – accept that life is full of ups and downs. You might not be able to change the world you live in, but you can change your attitude towards it.
  • Live your life using the 80:20 rule where you follow healthy practices 80% of the time and relax a little for the remaining 20%.

Disclaimer: The Unstress Health Podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.

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