The Odds of Good Health

Readers know I care about my health (diet, exercise, etc.) – and I’m sure you care about your health as well – so I want to discuss some numbers about health.

Odds of 1-in-150 vs. 1-in-6,000,000. Which has a higher likelihood of happening? The 1-in-150, of course.

What of those were odds of something bad – like contracting a terminal illness – happening to you? I reckon you’d prefer the 1-in-6,000,000 odds. Since we don’t have much choice if something bad happens to us or not, we have a pretty good chance of that 1-in-150 bad thing happening to us, yes?

What if I told you you could improve those odds with some simple changes in your life?

I’m sure you do things like this. Eating less fat, or minding your salt and sugar intake. Adding daily exercise. Maybe you look for GMO-free food, or make sure your plastics are BPA-free. And it’s not just food, but habits such as buckling your seat-belt when you get into a car, or looking both ways before crossing the street.

We seem to accept there are risks and dangers in the world, that we can’t fully escape them, but obviously we can make some changes in our lives that improve our odds of living a long and healthy life.

Look at what we teach kids. We teach them about “stranger danger”, and how to stay safe in a storm so they don’t get struck by lightning. Learning such safety precautions is an accepted part of our culture and society, because again we want ourselves and our loved-ones to live long and healthy lives.

Did you know that the average number of people killed in the US by lightning strkes each year is 51? With 310 million people in the US, that’s odds of 1-in-6,000,000 of dying from a lightning strike. A rare ocurrence indeed, and no one is considered paranoid for taking precautions against such a rare event.

According to FBI statistics, there are over 6 million violent crimes in the US each year. There are over 2 million where your life is literally at stake (armed robbery, aggravated assault, forcible rape, homicide). With 310 million people in the US…

That’s odds of 1-in-150 of you being a victim of a violent crime, that could leave you crippled for life or dead.

It’s not a “one in a million” chance of being a victim — it’s 1-in-150. It’s a 1-in-50 chance of being a victim of general violent crime. In fact, those odds are probably conservative because not all violent crimes are reported, so the real odds are likely greater.

Let that sink in.

You have a high likelihood of being the victim of a violent crime. I know you care about your health and well-being. Being alive, not being in pain and crippled for life because someone decided to shoot you for your iPhone – well, I think “being alive” is a fundamental component of being in good health.

Of all the unfair and undesirable things one can die from in this world, being a victim of a violent crime is pretty high up there. Please stop thinking it cannot happen to you, that crime only happens to other people (because to everyone else in the world, YOU are “other people”). The chances of you being the victim of a violent crime is pretty high, so once you start being honest with yourself about this fact and accept the reality of it, the next question is: what steps are you taking to do something about it?

(h/t to Tom Givens; listening to his interview on Ballistic Radio Season 2, Episode 87, 2014-11-23 provided the inspiration for this article. If you’ve never heard Tom speak, or even if you have, I highly recommend taking 30 minutes and listening to this interview. Tom has the wisdom and experience, and I can think of no one more authoritative and well-spoken on the subject matter.).


5 thoughts on “The Odds of Good Health

  1. the problem is that the nutritionists haven’t a clue how to advise people to eat and they haven’t had for over 40 years now. the proof is all around you with benches creaking under the weight of all your +++-sized friends and neighbors and the hospitals not being able to implant stents quickly enough to keep up with demand.

    and you have fallen victim to this bad advice with your line about ‘eating less fat’. it is becoming more and more evident to some of you that that single piece of advice was probably the worst advice ever given to a population you didn’t want to deliberately wipe out.

    go check some recent studies where the mainstream medical field is finally catching on that they can’t prove that fat is inherently dangerous. in the rush to lower fat the food industry has substituted carbohydrates and sugars and other proven deadly ingredients instead.

    bottom line is that in order to give good advice, you have to have good data. dr atkins tried to supply this data 20 years ago, but everyone though they knew better already. that’s why dogma (in religion or in science) is poisonous.

    if the public is constantly whipsawed with conflicting recommendations, they will ignore all of them. so what is the answer? do your own research–it’s your life you’re trying to save after all–no difference from self-defense.


    • Guy, the post isn’t about diet. The use of diet and such at the start is merely a way to get people to read, although perhaps they are stopping before they reach the end (not sure if you made it past the first couple paragraphs). 🙂 It’s about trying to bring people into a more important discussion, trying to introduce the topic with something that “much of the general populace” will be willing to agree with and perhaps would be willing to start reading (because starting the conversation with “GUNS!” is a pretty good way to turn off some of the very people I’d hope to reach). And yes, if that might mean to play on “popular wisdom” about diet (even if it’s wrong, it’s still the “common wisdom”)… well, it’s a literary device to get people to read. I don’t need to tackle other “controversies”, because that distracts and detracts from the larger message I’m trying to (and apparenty failed, at least to you) to convey.

      I actually know a lot more about diet than you assume I don’t know. If you’re going to rant, please don’t base it upon your assumptions of what I don’t know.

      And yes, eating less fat can still be a good thing, because 1 g of fat is still 9 calories. It’s very easy to consume high amounts of fat (food density, fullness, etc.), and despite all the whatever about “what makes us fat” (whether it is fat or carbs or whatever particular macronutrient we want to blame), the most fundamental principle of weight manipulation remains calorie balance — basically, calories in vs. calories out. More cals (consumed that expended) means more weight, less (consumed than expended) cals mean less weight. And so yes, given the easy to consume nature of fat, the fact it’s much higher in calories per gram, then yes minding the amount of fat you’re taking in can matter (within the grander scheme of calorie balance) if you are concerned about the manipulation of your weight.


  2. I think killed from violent crime would be a better stat vs victim of a violent crime when you compare against death by lightning. You may loose a bit of the stark contrast but I still think the point would be valid.

    Overall an interesting view of odds!

    • Maybe, maybe not.

      The difference between murder and aggravated assault (i.e. “attempted murder”) is in the former you die and in the latter you don’t. But even if you don’t die, you might be left in such a state that life is severely crippled, in horrific ways.

  3. Pingback: CoS Mill Outlet Fabric Shop – Part Four | Disperser Tracks

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