The BBC announced today that 1 in 5 people in the UK will live to be 100. They attribute this to better nutrition! Are they right or is it really to do with less people smoking, fewer fatal infectious diseases and people being kept alive with surgery and drugs? Are we keeping people alive artificially? This news seems at odds with the growing numbers of obese people and the increase in heart disease, cancers, etc. Is this just typical media distortion of statistics? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12091758
Medical science is fantastically good at prolonging decline into frailty and ultimate death.
Dr. Eades addressed this in a blog post before:
Life expectancy is a very loose metric nowadays. A more accurate measure is years of healthy, independent life, but as far as I know no one has measured that across countries.
Sure, plenty of people are living longer, but there is a massive group of elderly that are not having what I would like to call Quality Living. Being pumped full of meds, living with the cascade of side-effects from those meds, and being trapped in my home/living facility while being bullied to eat low-fat and whole grains sound like a torturous existence to me.
That is certainly not the whole complex situation, but I thought we might want to keep that in mind.
I was thinking about something similar to this topic the other day. For 20-30 years the good of the population quitting smoking overwhelmed the bad from eating refined sugar and flour. Now that most of the population has already quit smoking, there is no other driver to mask the effect of the health experts bad advice.
Hopefully there is going to be a comeuppance as the internet gets the Paleo meme out to more and more people. Before the internet, people would not have been able to share their self-experimentation results on a broad scale. The "experts" were like the church of old, making statements that could go unchallenged because they had a monopoly on information distribution. Their critics were kept diffused and isolated.
As for the growing number and ratio of 100 y.o.'s it is largely 1) demographics, less children being born means a lessening of base of the population pyramid thereby increasing the ratio of 100 y.o.'s, and 2) today's 100 y.o.'s were born after infectious disease was easily treated, but before the S in SAD was in effect. Today's 100 y.o.'s were in their 40's or better before flour, franken-oils, and sugar drinks became diet staples. Check back in 50 years and see what the number of 100 y.o.'s look like. Actually, the ratio might still be favorable given the still dropping birth-rates, but after adjusting for the bulge from the baby boom I bet it will be worse than would be expected given the raw numbers.
While advances in medicine have helped us to live longer, I have read that my son's generation (he's 14) will be the first generation to have a shorter life span than the previous generation due largely to problems associated with obesity.
I find this BBC article hard to believe. Especially since many believe that life expectancy is more likely to decline in western countries in the near future.
This could be especially true for England since they seem to be getting obese at a very high/fast rate
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