When you look at the statistics, it seems evident that we have done a great job of reducing some deaths by accidents (auto deaths have come down quite a bit; this drop is attributed to serious enforcement of drunken-driving laws, mandatory seat belts, and air bags). Sadly, more people died of suicide in 2010 than car accidents.
Even those of us who have stents may eventually die of heart diseases (thus reinforcing the statistics, but living longer), while many cancer patients live longer but still eventually die of cancer (likewise failing to show up as a change in statistics).
Where we have made gains in delaying death, we often fail to emphasize the most important precautions. Our failure is personal, primarily surfacing in the realm of basic habits, like smoking or eating plenty of fast foods. We are still “bringing home the bacon” when we should be bringing home the turkey bacon.
Since almost half of us will die from heart disease or cancer, it makes sense to target habits that reduce or delay contracting these culprits. Walking, eating green, leafy vegetables and fruit, and cutting down on cholesterol (especially fried foods and red meats) is a great start. New evidence suggests that even daily flossing has been demonstrated to combat these and other ailments by reducing the mouth bacterias that weaken our health.
Death by tornado or death by accident makes the news, but perhaps the headlines should read, “Fred Jones plugged up his arteries with fast food and died of a sudden heart attack at age 50; Sally Smith contracted lung cancer from smoking year after year.” Such headlines are not as newsworthy as death by terrorist attack or random shootings, but it is how many more of us meet our Maker.
• Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at email@example.com.