“If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything”

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Whatever answer you give me, I can tell you why you’re wrong.

I feel that the question, “What is the most pressing issue the world faces today?” is a chicken-egg problem.  There are a whole lot of problems, or “pressing issues,” in the world today.  Poverty, lack of education, lack of access to health care or clean water, crime, corrupt governments; the list goes on and on.  Despite the length of the list, I submit that poor nutrition is the most pressing issue the world faces at this time.  I am confident that my opinion can be blown to shreds by anyone who desires to argue against it.  But, then again, so can yours.

I believe poor nutrition to be the cause—or major contributing factor—of many of the world’s problems.  One of the reasons I say this is because poor nutrition is a major issue even in the United States and other developed countries.  Poor nutrition is not something confined to the rural villages in Africa or the slums of India; it is witnessed in every nation on earth.  The rich get fatter and the poor remain malnourished.

For developed countries, where a greater percentage of populations are becoming overweight each year, this translates into extreme spending on health care costs.  The U.S. spent 2.2 trillion dollars on health care in 2008 (“Health Care,” Wikipedia).  That is $2,200,000,000,000, or $7,439 per person.  Granted, not all health care costs are a direct result of poor nutrition.  But many diseases and other health complications arise from poor nutrition.  These trillions of dollars could be put to good use elsewhere if people in developed countries improved their nutrition.

For developing countries, poor nutrition (or lack thereof) translates into high infant mortality rates, excessive disease, and low life expectancy.  Instead of gaining an education, children must work to provide food for their families.  Instead of helping their families make true progress in life, men and women must spend all available time to simply get food on the table.  The other problems faced by these people—education, crime, you name it—are put on the back burner.

I feel that lack of poor nutrition leads, in some way, to all other problems in the world.  It must be addressed before before we can hope to make a dent in the others.  Just remember the words of Count Rugen to Prince Humperdinck in The Princess Bride:  “If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything.”  And thus it is.

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