Our Physical bodies carry us through our increasingly long lives. Caring for, protecting, and nurturing our bodies in a sedentary world of increased chemical and environmental abrasiveness requires we take conscious steps to look after our physical selves…

The top 12 preventable risk factors for premature death

According to a study by Harvard public health researchers, the leading preventable risk factors for premature death in the United States are:

  1. Smoking: 467,000 deaths.
  2. High blood pressure: 395,000 deaths.
  3. Overweight-obesity: 216,000 deaths.
  4. Inadequate physical activity and inactivity: 191,000 deaths.
  5. High blood sugar: 190,000 deaths.
  6. High LDL cholesterol: 113,000 deaths.
  7. High dietary salt: 102,000 deaths.
  8. Low dietary omega-3 fatty acids (seafood): 84,000 deaths.
  9. High dietary trans fatty acids: 82,000 deaths.
  10. Alcohol use: 64,000 deaths.
  11. Low intake of fruits and vegetables: 58,000 deaths.
  12. Low dietary poly-unsaturated fatty acids: 15,000 deaths.


This study is the most comprehensive look at how diet, lifestyle and various other chronic disease risk factors contribute to mortality in the U.S.

And it produced some interesting observations:

  • Smoking is responsible for approximately 20% of all deaths in the U.S.
  • High blood pressure is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths
  • Obesity + physical inactivity = 407,000 deaths per year ≈ 17% of all deaths
  • High blood pressure kills 5x as many women as breast cancer
  • 70% of the alcohol related deaths happened to men…way to go guys
  • High blood sugar killed 3x as many people as alcohol
  • 2/3 of the deaths attributed to high blood sugar, obesity and high blood pressure occurred in only 10-33% of the overall population.
  • 1,051,000 deaths can be attributed to poor dietary choices. That’s 45% of all deaths.


Note: Find or extrapolate equivalent figures for Australia


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Goals of Physical Wellbeing

  1. Optimal physical function, health and longlivity
  2. Alignment with and supportive of psychological and spiritual ideals & goals
  3. Optimal comfort & absence of physical stress (to the extent they don’t diminish achieving the above goals)


Indices (for Australia and East Timor)

  • poverty, disease & starvation
  • obesity, diabetes,
  • Heart attacks
  • Respiratory problems
  • Chronic discomfort, headaches, etc…


Resources & further reading