America May Have Reached the Tipping Point and is Now Making Healthier Choices.

23 May

You have 20,000 to 26,000 genes that, left to their own devices, would determine how long and well you lived. But they are never left to their own devices. As we have related in a past column or two, most of your DNA consists of switches that control -turn on or off – your genes and your food choices, activities, even how often you meditate control which of your genes are turned on or off. That’s why we say you have lots of control over how long and well you live. Now, three headlines that make me think America has hit a tipping point for better health:

1. “Healthcare costs the same in 2012 as in 2011 (as a percent of GDP)”,
2. “CVS to discontinue selling tobacco products in October 2014”
3. “Americans’ Eating Habits Take a Healthier Turn (Study Finds)”

Why the tipping point? The third headline, from the USDA, was followed by a story on calorie consumption, saturated fat consumption, and vegetable consumption. Americans ate more calories every year between 1983 and 2005 (a whopping 900 calories more per day per person in the USA in 2005 versus 1983). No wonder we got overweight! But from 2005-6 to 2009-10, we ate 118 fewer calories per day! Saturated fat consumption declined 5.9%, and vegetable intake increased over that five-year period. WOW!

The second headline also implies Americans are making healthier choices. If CVS is saying “good bye” versus “good buy” to Tobacco sales ($2.5 billion dollars a year for them and related items purchased by smokers) and its profits, they must have found from focus groups that America is willing to invest in preventing chronic disease.

Since chronic disease from tobacco, physical inactivity, food choices, portion size, and unmanaged stress accounts for over 70% of our health costs, this tipping point for
tobacco is huge for us as a society (assuming we don’t replace this vice with something just as bad or worse).

And America is going to be more competitive (the first headline) because we’re spending less on health (17.3% of GDP is enough). Whether due to cost transparency, better outpatient management (a decline in over 5% in hospital admissions also occurred, WOW), or to less chronic disease, America will be more vibrant for jobs.

Maybe we’ve reached a tipping point. Maybe all this discussion about Healthcare reform and the dollars each of us will be spending on illness care has motivated us to make healthier choices.

Thanks for reading,

Young Dr. Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.
This article is of the opinion of its author.
Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week) on twitter @YoungDrMike.

Feel free to continue to send questions to You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week). The YOU docs have a new web site: and its companion the only site we know of where you can find skin products proven to meet the claims (opened for business on June 1st, 2012), and a new book: YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens.

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on Saturdays from 5-7 p.m . E-mail him questions at He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including : YOU Staying Young and YOU: The Owner’s Manual. He is Chief Medical Consultant to the two year running Emmy award winning Dr Oz show– The Dr Oz show is #2 nationally in daytime TV. See what all the fun is about, and what he, The Enforcer, is up to. Check local listings or log onto for channel and time. And for more health info, log onto anytime.

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