And things are getting worse.
"Lifestyle diseases" were first identified 75 years ago, but we've made poor progress at preventing them. Instead, we create communities and entertainment that make us lax and idle, and detach us from friends and family.
What we think works isn't working.
The U.S. spends trillions on hospitals, doctors, and drugs to treat disease...and scant little on helping people avoid it in the first place.
What do we do? We deploy fear and shame and guilt to little effect. We hope people will make changes they don't want to make. And we beg them to do things that are harder, more expensive, and less fun.
Are we really surprised this doesn't work?
A new approach
It's time to wake up.
It's time to think big.
It's time to tap technology and innovation to make life healthy by default.
This is not wearables and coaching apps.
This is re-engineering our COMMUNITIES – food, shelter, transportation, entertainment – so that health is built into the structure of our daily lives.
Below, some of our favorite examples.
Society has risen to great health challenges before. Sanitation, food safety, fluoridation, tobacco control, these were daunting, even impossible tasks ... that all happened.
This is a big idea, but it's not just ours. Many bold thinkers and policy leaders are already making it happen. And we need a wave of entrepreneurs and innovators to rise to the moment and join us.
We can find our way. Here are our guidebooks.
Steve's 3-part manifesto states the case for making health the default in daily life, and why tech must be part of the solution.
Public health can do big things, and in this report Dr. Desalvo calls for a new approach to solving our biggest problems.
A leader in nutrition science and neuroscience argues that our brains are being hijacked by our worst impulses – for profit.
Lieberman's masterpiece, The Story of the Human Body, explains how the bodies we have don't suit the world we've built.