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Today on the bus I accidentally made a connection between two seemingly unrelat

ed things: obesity and the healthcare crisis in this country, and our increasin
g social isolation and lack of relationships with God in our society. These th
oughts were triggered by seeing a woman in front of me, who was clearly obese, e
ating a bagful of gummy bears and drinking a bottle of pepsi.
She was already obese and had to know that these things are loaded with sugar,
but she didn't care. I'm not necessarily blaming her for eating these things be
cause for many obese people, they're as addicted to sugar and junk food as a dru
g addict is addicted to cocaine. But what stood out to me more than anything wa
s the fact that she was alone, and clearly didn't have anyone in her life who re
ally cared about her. She was eating herself into oblivion, and there was nobod
y in her life to stop her.
That sad situation led me to realize the following truth: the healthcare cris
is/disease epidemic in this country is in part being caused by americans being w
ay too busy, stressed out, not getting enough sleep, and eating junk food. But
why are we living this way and doing these things that destroy our bodies, even
though it's really our attempt to handle our stressful lives? I believe the roo
t of it is that so many of us are alone, and there aren't the communities and re
lationships americans have had in the past. So we dont have the social support
networks we've had in the past that help us alleviate stress and directly help u
s handle various problems we encounter every day. And even for those people who
do have friends and family, they dont have the strong relationships people in t
he past had, they simply dont have the time it takes to create those strong rela
tionships, they're too busy.
Studies show that without the right amount of meaningful social interact
ions, people are far more stressed than they otherwise would be. http://www.ncbi
They have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and all kinds of physical prob
lems, and simply cant handle stress as well in isolation. This is because as h
umans we evolved together in tribes and became social beings, so our brains are
wired to expect and process a certain amount of social interaction every day, th
ey're built to interact. That's why our areas of the brain that deal with speak
ing, comprehension, and emotions are so much bigger than all the other mammals,
even the ones we're most closely related to like the great apes.
But even more than this, our loss of faith in God is a factor causing this unnec
essary stress in our lives. Many americans dont have any relationship with God
at all, and this creates a void in their lives that they're subconciously trying
to fill, often with self-destructive behaviors. When we have a relationship wi
th God, it makes us want to reach out to others and share the joy and grace God
has given us, and it also gives us something in common with others that makes it
easier to create bonds of friendship.
The bottom line is we need to get back to our roots of God and community in this
country, cause that's what made us great and prosperous, and gave us the shared
values that made us stand out in the world.
That's why it makes no sense to focus on the problem of the disease epidemic in
this country, especially the epidemic of mental health problems, without looking

at the root of the problem. No amount of changes to the insurance industry or

healthcare system, as necessary as they are, are gonna solve the problem until
we address the fact that all these people are stressed out and developing mental
health issues because they're isolated, overworked, overstressed, and have no m
eaning or purpose in their lives.
Disease doesn't exist in a vacuum and can't be cured with a magic bullet or a si
mple drug. It involves the entire person, which means it involves the physical,
mental, and spiritual aspects of a person's life. Without addressing each of t
hose aspects, we wont make any progress in reducing the rates of disease in this