How Sick is the United States?
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From Keith Nemec, M.D.

We are not getting healthier, but sicker. Don’t let that scare you, but educate you. My desire is that you would choose to improve your total health through an educated decision rather than through fear of either getting sick or, even worse, through actually being sick. In 1900 the United States of America was the healthiest nation in the world. By 1920 we dropped to No. 2, and by 1978 we had fallen to No. 79. Why this decline?

Heart attack

Heart attack is the leading cause of death in the United States.3 Over 1.5 million people have them, and over 700,000 people die from them each year. If you are the average American, your chance of dying from a heart attack is about 50 percent.

This drops to less than 4% if you switch to a vegan (no animal product) diet. Much time and money has been spent to repair coronary artery blockage and damage caused by heart attacks through bypass surgery, but little has been done to address the cause of the problem in the first place. Treating the effects of heart disease with surgery instead of addressing the causes is like bandaging our fingers only to pick up the hammer and smash them again.

Dr. Dean Ornish has developed a program that prevents and reverses heart disease, which neither medication nor surgery can do. His program consists of a vegetarian diet, exercise, and relaxation and meditation techniques.


In 1900, three percent of all deaths in America were caused by cancer; by 1994, the percentage had risen to 22.9 Today, cancer is the second-leading cause of death at 38% in the U.S. If deaths due to cancer continue to rise at their present rate, cancer will surpass heart disease as the No. 1 killer in America. In the U.S., more than one out of every three (38 percent) Americans presently die from cancer. In the next five years that percentage will probably rise to 50 percent. Over one million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and about 520,000 die from it. An even more alarming fact is that cancer is now the leading cause of death in children ages 1-14 besides accidental injury. How can this be? Why should this be? Children’s bodies are so vital, so able to bounce back from sickness. Fifty years ago you rarely heard of children getting cancer. What is happening? Hopefully this book will not only answer that question but address what to do about it.

The parts of our bodies most commonly affected by cancer are the skin, lung, colon, rectum, and breast. In 1993, the top three types of cancer were lung, colorectal and breast. These three forms of cancer combined to total almost 50 percent of all cancer. Diet and lifestyle changes could reduce these three drastically.

The following factors can cause cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute:

Diet — 35-60% (some sources say up to 90%) Tobacco — 30% Alcohol — 3% Radiation — 3% Medication — 2% Air and water — 1-5%


The third leading cause of death in the United States is stroke.16 Strokes are caused by atherosclerotic plaquing and decreased blood flow to the brain, much like heart attacks. Every year, 550,000 Americans have strokes, or cerebral vascular accident (CVA). Of these, 162,000 die,17 and many of the rest are left with significant disabilities.

The top three diseases — heart disease, cancer, and stroke — comprise about 88% of all deaths in this country. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of deaths attributed to these three factors could be eliminated through changes in diet, lifestyle, and attitudes. Remember, total health = wholeness, and when we improve the whole of our health, rather than just one or two aspects of it, we will be as God created us to be: WHOLE.

Excerpt taken from the book Total Health = Wholeness: A Body, Mind and Spirit Manual by Dr. Keith and Laurie Nemec. For more information go to Total Health Institute

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.