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Geneticss VS. Lifestyle

From the website

Globally, cardiovascular disease kills roughly one in every three people (1), with cancer killing one in every six (2). In the United States, about half have cardiovascular disease (3), a third will get cancer (4), and more than a third will get diabetes (5), with nearly 60% of all Americans dying from one of these three diseases (3-5).

Meanwhile, global spending for prescription drugs is surpassing $1 trillion annually, with the US accounting for about one-third of this market (6). Part of the reason we spend so much money on pharmaceuticals is because many people have been conditioned to believe that the diseases we get and die from can largely be blamed on our genes. But for most of the leading causes of death, genes are only responsible for about 10 to 20 percent of our risk.

The best proof we have of this comes from looking at the health outcomes of people who move to countries where people have very different genetic backgrounds. While rates of heart disease and major cancers can vary up to 100-fold across populations around the globe, when people move to countries with different lifestyle habits, their rates of disease almost always begin to match those of their new country. If these diseases were primarily genetic, adopting a new lifestyle would have little impact (7).

“The major causes of chronic diseases are known, and if these risk factors were eliminated, at least 80% of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes would be prevented; over 40% of cancer would be prevented” (8).


In other words, while our genes can be a factor, the lifestyle choices we make are usually far more important.

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