It would be hilarious if it weren’t so outrageous. Some scientists are proposing that we reengineer our bodies in order to prevent accidents, avoid disease and promote longevity. Ideas recently conceived by “experts” and published in a popular news weekly include extra ribs to prevent hernias, backward-bending knees to reduce joint friction, swiveling oversize ears to enhance hearing in old age, and squid-like eyes (less prone to vision loss).
These were only some of the ideas. The result? A really odd-looking, contorted body! One expert claimed the human body wasn’t designed for longevity. Were we designed to become obese and plagued with disease as we grow older?
Teens affected, too
Perhaps you’re thinking, “How in the world does this subject apply to me? I’m young. Old age doesn’t concern me. Disease won’t affect me.” When I was a teenager, I thought the same way. Actually, I gave those subjects no thought at all! But stop and think. Every old person, every disabled and diseased adult, was once a teenager—just like you. Unfortunately, more and more teens are experiencing shortened life spans and disabling diseases.
One author puts it this way: “Most people think heart disease is an adult disease, the result of many years of an improper diet. However, in a recent study reported in The American Heart Association Journal, dangerous advanced arterial plaque was found in teens and young adults who had died in accidents, by suicide, or had been murdered…. Obesity is becoming a major health deterrent of children, teens, and young adults” (Tipworld, www.topica.com/tipworld, by Elizabeth Thornberry).
Oops! Health does have something to do with teenagers. Let’s Live magazine stated the following in its “weightwatch” section: “A diet high in sweets and fats coupled with sedentary activities, like channel surfing and cruising the Internet, could be a disaster in the making for many of today’s children. A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, found that obese children are 53 more times likely to have insulin resistance, a syndrome that often precedes development of adult-onset (type II) diabetes. This disease can cause blindness and amputation” (February 2001, p. 28). To emphasize the point, the section was titled “Obese Kids and Diabetes.”
Weight gain seems to be the scourge of our society. There has been a recent 70 percent increase in the rate of obesity among young adults—both male and female.
Too much weight results in all types of infirmities. Heart disease, cancer, strokes and diabetes are on the list. These four problems alone are responsible for 65 percent of all deaths in the United States. What can you, as a young person, do to avoid obesity and maximize your future health?
Diets don’t work
Gail O’Connor (Teen People, April 2000, pp. 204-205) recently asked, “What percentage of dieters gain back all of their lost weight—or more—within one year? A. 25%, B. 50%, C. 65% or D. 95%?” Continuing, she wrote: “Answer: D, 95%! Dieting doesn’t work! Besides the fact that nearly every person who goes on a diet regains the weight, radically reducing the amount of food you eat slows your metabolism, so most people end up fatter than before.”
Another author, Jane Brody, in The New York Times Book of Health writes: “The body adjusts its weight to a preset goal…researchers have found that all people, fat or thin, adjust their metabolism to maintain their weight” (p. 35). If dieting isn’t the answer (and guys, pay attention because if you’re not overweight now, there’s a 63 percent chance you will be fat by age 25), what is the answer?
Raise your metabolic rate
Since the brain adjusts to dieting by lowering metabolism, you have to do something. Not long ago, I came across some general information about metabolism. Although no specific source was cited, the information is in line with published guidelines from most knowledgeable health educators.
The paper noted, “Basal metabolic rate is the base amount of energy needed to keep your heart, lungs, muscles and organs going at rest. Here are some simple ideas that can speed up metabolic rate.
- Eat breakfast. If you skip it, you will tell your body that you are starving it and it slows down metabolism.
- Don’t reduce your caloric intake to less than 1,200 calories per day. If you do, you will again tell your body that you are starving it. You again reduce your metabolic rate.
- Increase your activity by doing some fast walking or short workout. It doesn’t have to be extensive. Short term raising of your activity level increases your metabolic rate.”
Gail O’Connor agrees. According to her, “If your doctor has told you to shed some pounds, then do what experts know does work to help you lose weight: Exercise for 30 to 40 minutes, five times a week, and moderately reduce calorie intake” (Teen People, April 2000, p. 205).
Why we’re getting fat
An article in U.S. News and World Report recently explained, “Both men and women are getting fat in epidemic proportions. Well over half of all American adults—about 63 percent of men and 55 percent of women age 25 and older—are overweight” (November 8, 1999, p. 82). The article points out that the problem is not just with adults: “…a decrease in physical activity [emphasis mine throughout article] among both sexes is contributing to a recent 70 percent increase in the rate of obesity among young adults” (ibid., p. 83). An insert article under the title, “Cutting Kid’s Weights,” reported that 1 in every 5 U.S. children is overweight. Did you notice that the cause was “a decrease in physical activity”?
Elizabeth Thornberry echoes the importance of physical exercise, writing, “We need as parents to make sure our children are eating healthy food in correct proportions and participating in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. Physical activity will help to control fatness, reduce cholesterol, and prevent high blood pressure” (ibid.).
Many authors are lining up, telling us to engage in more activity. “Since 1985 the American Cancer Society has recommended regular exercise as part of its 10-step program to prevent cancer” (Book of Health, Brody, p. 36). Brody points out that being sedentary is just as bad a vice as cigarette smoking. “For women, exercise, particularly during the teenage and young adult years, seems to be associated with lower rates of breast cancer and various…cancers of the reproductive tract” (ibid., p. 55).
In his book, Antioxidant Revolution, Kenneth Cooper quotes the American Heart Association as stating, “inactivity is a primary risk factor for heart disease” (p. 49). Consider what Dr. Cooper says exercise will do for you. According to this noted expert, aerobic exercise, three times a week for 20 minutes each session, will enhance your immune system, prevent bone disease, cause less bone loss and fewer joint symptoms, give you more flexibility, give you greater strength and longevity, produce fewer medical problems, reduce body fat by increasing metabolism, result in fewer medications and will give you 3 ½ times less disabilities by the time all is said and done.
Avoid animal fat
While there are many more actions you can take for improved health, consider one more. Dr. Cooper also says, “…the researchers found that the more animal fat and the fewer vegetables and fruits consumed, the higher the coronary death rate was in the countries studied” (ibid., p. 144).
The Bible tells us not to consume animal fat or unclean meats. Further, God’s Word contains many examples of foods we should eat including fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and clean meat. If we follow the words of our Parent in heaven, the consequences should result in living much longer (Exodus 20:12 Exodus 20:12Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the LORD your God gives you.
American King James Version×).
Live to 120?
There is little doubt that we can live much longer, in health, than today’s average life span. Leading researchers in the study of longevity contradict those who espouse the premise that our bodies were not designed to live long.
The Maffetone Report (January/February 2001, Volume 3, Issue 1) maintains that the average life span for an animal is six times their skeletal maturity. Dr. Ash and Beth Ley, in their book DHEA, Unlocking the Secrets to the Fountain of Youth, state the figure is seven times maturity. A medium-sized dog is mature at 2 and lives to be 14 years old. A horse matures at age 3 and lives to be 24 or 25. Humans mature at 20 and live less than four times that length. Why can’t humans live to be 120 (six times their skeletal maturity)?
The report continued by stating, “How well you care for yourself from the earliest age has a significant impact on both the quantity and quality of your life.” Deja vu? Solomon said the same thing in Ecclesiastes 12:1 Ecclesiastes 12:1Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them;
American King James Version×: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.’”
So what should we conclude? Perhaps we don’t need a restructuring of our physical bodies after all. Perhaps we should just heed God’s Word, “If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law…. He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt…. Also every sickness and every plague” (Deuteronomy 28:58-61 Deuteronomy 28:58-61  If you will not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
 Then the LORD will make your plagues wonderful, and the plagues of your seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
 Moreover he will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt, which you were afraid of; and they shall stick to you.
 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring on you, until you be destroyed.
American King James Version×).
The choice is yours. Start now to increase your chance for a long, healthy life. YU