Here is the full transcript of Dr. Michael Greger’s talk titled “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death”. This is Dr. Greger’s 2012 live presentation.
In past years, I’ve addressed the most pressing dietary issues of our time, like what’s the healthiest variety of apple, or what’s the most nutritious nut or dried fruit, or what’s the best bean, what’s the best berry? What’s the best bowel movement?
We had fun. People got to vote. You know, some folks came away all huffy, especially the New Yorkers back there. But this year, I thought I’d lighten it up, and answer what’s the best way to prevent death?
Every year the CDC updates the latest leading causes of death in the United States. So let’s start at the top and go down the list — see what’s new in each category.
Heart disease, #1. The 35-year follow-up of the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, just published, now the most definitive long-term study on older women’s health we have. Since the study started thousands of participants died, but that allowed them to study the risk factors for mortality. Because heart disease was the leading cause of death, it comes as no surprise that dietary cholesterol intake was a significant risk factor for dying.
The second leading cause was smoking-related cancer deaths. But what’s so neat about this study is that it’s a competing risks analysis, so it allowed them to compare different risks to one another. So consuming the amount of cholesterol found in just a single egg a day appears to cut a woman’s life short as much as smoking five cigarettes a day for 15 years.
The most protective behavior they found was fiber consumption. Eating just a cup of oatmeal’s worth of fiber a day appears to extend a woman’s life as much as four hours of jogging a week. Though you can do both.