For the Health of It!

Today is World Health Day and later this month we celebrate Earth Day. So, what do these two celebrations and associated organizations have to do with each other?

Well, for one thing, the World Health Organization's efforts are focused on universal healthcare for all by 2030 and all countries have signed on to this attainable goal of access to primary healthcare for all.

And on April 22 we will celebrate the founding of Earth Day in 1970 as a protest against the smog, acid rain and other pollutants which were adversely affecting our health and reducing the number of species on our planet. Since that time, we have seen the start of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the enactment of the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.

Most people would agree all of this is good news. Access to basic healthcare is a good idea and so is a clean planet that is biodiverse. So, why am I talking about this today?

I guess I am feeling a little down right now because my friend's wife just died from colorectal cancer, and my neighbor is being treated for the same. This type of cancer is the third most common diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S.

Both of these people are younger than I am, and this isn't the first time I have heard something like this. So checking the data, there is definitely an increase in the number of diagnoses in this age group - Although the overall death rate has continued to drop, deaths from colorectal cancer among people younger than age 55 have increased 1% per year from 2007 and 2016. Source: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

I guess that is the connection in this thread; while our governments can do something on a macro level to increase the health of the citizens and the planet, what can we do on personally to maintain our health and the health of the people we love?

How can you mitigate the risk of developing colorectal cancer?

Not all things are under your control such as an inherited condition, family history, previous history of polyps or inflammatory bowel disease,and type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately for African Americans in the U.S., they have the highest incidence and mortality rate for this cancer. And Ashkenazi Jews have the highest incidence rate of all ethnic groups worldwide. All the more reason to get tested early.

There are lifestyle related factors which can increase your risk, such as:

  • overweight or obesity

  • lack of physical activity

  • smoking

  • heavy alcohol use

  • diet that is heavy in red meat or processed meat

Fortunately, these can be changed and could reduce your risk of this type of cancer. In fact, diabetes and colorectal cancer share similar risk factors.


There is no way to prevent getting cancer, however, you can decrease your risk by getting early and regular screenings. I have noticed that the recommended age to start screening has dropped from 50 to age 45,on the American Cancer Society website.

You can also change your lifestyle (with help, if needed), to reduce your weight, increase your physical activity and change your diet to a more healthy one. And I think we all can agree that smoking and drinking heavily are just plain bad for you.

I implore you to take care of yourself, and bug your loved ones to get tested too. Early detection can make all the difference.

Yours in health,


Coach Michelle





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