Epidemic Disease Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Epidemic Disease. Here they are! All 100 of them:

It's striking that Native Americans evolved no devastating epidemic diseases to give to Europeans in return for the many devastating epidemic diseases that Indians received from the Old World.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies)
Whining is a virus, a lethal, infectious, epidemic disease.
Peter Høeg (Smilla's Sense of Snow)
This disease has magnified all our mistakes. Some stupid thing you did when you were nineteen, the one time you weren't careful. And it turns out that was the most important day of your life.
Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers)
How very American, he thought, to look at a disease as homosexual or heterosexual, as if viruses had the intelligence to choose between different inclinations of human behavior.
Randy Shilts (And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, 20th-Anniversary Edition)
If disease is an expression of individual life under unfavorable conditions, then epidemics must be indicative of mass disturbances of mass life.
Tracy Kidder (Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World)
What society judged was not the severity of the disease but the social acceptability of the individuals affected with it…
Randy Shilts (And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic)
The U.S. medical system is good at fighting disease, Cahana believes, and awful at leading people to wellness.
Sam Quinones (Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic)
What a horrible feeling that is, to know that if the disease [AIDS] had primarily affected PTA presidents, or priests, or white teenage girls, the epidemic would have been ended years earlier, and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved.
David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing)
In times of stress and danger such as come about as the result of an epidemic, many tragic and cruel phases of human nature are brought out, as well as many brave and unselfish ones.
William Crawford Gorgas (Sanitation in Panama (Classic Reprint))
It appears that the epidemic of active disengagement we see in workplaces every day could be a curable disease…if we can help the people around us develop their strengths.
Tom Rath (Strengths Finder 2.0)
According to the surgeon general, obesity today is officially an epidemic; it is arguably the most pressing public health problem we face, costing the health care system an estimated $90 billion a year. Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese. The disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes has had to be renamed Type II diabetes since it now occurs so frequently in children. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that a child born in 2000 has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes. (An African American child's chances are two in five.) Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today's children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents. The problem is not limited to America: The United Nations reported that in 2000 the number of people suffering from overnutrition--a billion--had officially surpassed the number suffering from malnutrition--800 million.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)
Amnesia, which is a loss of memory, is a symptom of many different trauma and/or dissociative disorders, including PTSD, Dissociative Fugue, Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Amnesia can affect both implicit and explicit memory.
Ruth A. Lanius (The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic)
Transparency is critical in public health and epidemics; laypeople become either effective force-multipliers or stubborn walls.
T.K. Naliaka
The thing is," Teddy said, "the disease itself feels like a judgment. We've all got a little Jesse Helms on our shoulder, right? If you got it from sleeping with a thousand guys, then it's a judgment on your promiscuity. If you got it from sleeping with one guy once, that's almost worse, it's like a judgment on all of us, like the act itself is the problem and not the number of times you did it. And if you got it because you thought you couldn't, it's a judgment on your hubris. And if you got it because you knew you could and you didn't care, it's a judgment on how much you hate yourself. Isn't that why the world loves Ryan White so much? How could God have it out for some poor kid with a blood disorder? But then people are still being terrible. They're judging him for just being sick, not even for the way he got it.
Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers)
Most importantly, the epidemic was only news when it was not killing homosexuals. In this sense, AIDS remained a fundamentally gay disease, newsworthy only by the virtue of the fact that it sometimes hit people who weren't gay,
Randy Shilts (And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic)
Man survives earthquakes, epidemics, the horrors of disease, and agonies of the soul, but all the time his most tormenting tragedy has been, is, and will always be, the tragedy of the bedroom.
Leo Tolstoy
We live in truly unbelievable times. Autism is an epidemic in most western countries, western governments are nothing more than corrupt corporations, and corporations are routinely suppressing information regarding the toxicity of many common household items. The result is that many people are unnecessarily suffering from easily preventable developmental problems, sickness and cancer.
Steven Magee
Mrs. Kooshof's intolerance for complexity, for the looping circuitry of a well-told tale, symptomizes an epidemic disease of our modern world. (I see it daily among my students. The short attention span, the appetite limited to linearity. Too much Melrose Place.)
Tim O'Brien (Tomcat in Love)
How to spell Aedes aegypti,the world's one-stop, viral-disease-transmitting mosquito: T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
T.K. Naliaka
The “cure,” it seemed, had once again been proven to be “worse than the disease.
Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America)
Helping those in need is not charity, it's humanity.
Abhijit Naskar
You can revive economy, but not a corpse.
Abhijit Naskar
The conditions necessary for devastating epidemics or pandemics just didn't exist until the agricultural revolution. The claim that modern medicine and sanitation save us from infectious diseases that ravaged pre-agricultural people (something we hear often) is like arguing that seat belts and air bags protect us from car crashes that were fatal to our prehistoric ancestors.
Cacilda Jethá (Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality)
One feature of the usual script for plague: the disease invariably comes from somewhere else. The names for syphilis, when it began its epidemic sweep through Europe in the last decade of the fifteenth century are an exemplary illustration of the need to make a dreaded disease foreign. It was the "French pox" to the English, morbus Germanicus to the Parisians, the Naples sickness to the Florentines, the Chinese disease to the Japanese. But what may seem like a joke about the inevitability of chauvinism reveals a more important truth: that there is a link between imagining disease and imagining foreignness.
Susan Sontag (Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors)
Incredibly, just one mosquito species, Aedes aegypti is responsible for the spread of four known different deadly viral diseases to human beings, yet this mosquito has been allowed to infest densely-populated urban centers.
T.K. Naliaka
It has become commonplace among climate activists to say that we have, today, all the tools we need to avoid catastrophic climate change—even major climate change. It is also true. But political will is not some trivial ingredient, always at hand. We have the tools we need to solve global poverty, epidemic disease, and abuse of women, as well.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
Nature had found the perfect place to hide the yellow fever virus. It seeded itself and grew in the blood, blooming yellow and running red.
Molly Caldwell Crosby (The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History)
Many writers make the mistake of making their readers appear like Lazarus, without any iota of care, throwing down books to readers to crunch as if they are dogs.
Michael Bassey Johnson
Will 2015 ever be noted as the year Ebola was decisively downgraded from a lurid horror meme to just one of many commonly treatable diseases?
T.K. Naliaka
Disease Carrying thoughts swarm and multiply in the dark and twisted labyrinths of our minds, and all that is needed is a mob and a good political slogan for the epidemic to be spread once again, with a burst of automatic weapons or a mushroom cloud.
Romain Gary
What a horrible feeling that is, to know that if the disease had primarily affected PTA presidents, or priests, or white teenage girls, the epidemic would have been ended years earlier, and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives would have been saved.
David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing)
If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency. . . . Fatherlessness is associated with almost every societal ill facing our country’s children.
Lacey Sturm (The Mystery: Finding True Love in a World of Broken Lovers)
These are not ordinary times where we play politics and juggle with the safety of the society. These are the times that demand prompt decisions and utter responsibility towards not just the self but our kind – the humankind.
Abhijit Naskar
Maintain social distancing and wash your hands frequently with soap and water, until the WHO lifts the global emergency. And above all, do not share conspiracy theories on social media, because every single share makes it difficult for health-workers and other people working at the front to contain the situation.
Abhijit Naskar
How we eat, how much we exercise, how we manage stress, our exposure to environmental and food-based toxins, and the structural violence or “obesogenic environment” that influences these factors are what is truly driving our diabesity epidemic.
Mark Hyman (The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! (The Dr. Mark Hyman Library Book 1))
It was strange how closely we returnees clung together. We were like a family of orphaned children, split by an epidemic and sent to different care centers. That feeling of an epidemic disease persisted. The people treated us nicely, and cared for us tenderly, and then hurried to wash their hands after touching us. We were somehow unclean. We were tainted. And we ourselves accepted this. We felt it too ourselves. We understood why the civilian people preferred not to look at our injuries.
James Jones (The Thin Red Line (The World War II Trilogy))
Broad Street marked the first time in history when a reasonable person might have surveyed the state of urban life and come to the conclusion that cities would someday become great conquerers of disease. Until then, it looked like a losing battle all the way.
Steven Johnson (The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World)
It appears that the epidemic of active disengagement we see in workplaces every day could be a curable disease . . . if we can help the people around us develop their strengths.
Tom Rath (StrengthsFinder 2.0)
Stay calm, stay safe and seek medical information only from trusted officials and actual healthcare experts.
Abhijit Naskar
I urge you not to buy my books right now, instead use that money to help someone in need. Philosophy can wait, but humanity cannot.
Abhijit Naskar
Although the first known human cases in the United States appeared only as recently as 1962, Lyme disease is already reaching epidemic proportions in many parts of our country.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel)
Stupid arbitrary shit means the president of the United States can wait six years before even saying the disease’s name. Stupid arbitrary shit means it will take a movie star to die and a hemophiliac teenager to die before ordinary people start to mobilize, start to feel that the disease needs to be stopped. Tens of thousands of people will die before drugs are made and drugs are approved. What a horrible feeling that is, to know that if the disease had primarily affected PTA presidents, or priests, or white teenage girls, the epidemic would have been ended years earlier, and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives would have been saved. We did not choose our identity, but we were chosen to die by it.
David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing)
[T]he salient question is whether the increasing awareness of [heart] disease beginning in the 1920s coincided with the budding of an epidemic or simply better technology for diagnosis.
Gary Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease)
The more we talk about the epidemic as an individual disease phenomenon or a moral failing, the easier it is to obfuscate and ignore the social and economic conditions that predispose certain individuals to addiction. The fix isn't more Suboxone or lectures on morality but rather a reinvigorated democracy that provides a pathway for meaningful work, with a living wage, for everybody.
Beth Macy (Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America)
I have blogged previously about the dangerous and deadly effects of science denialism, from the innocent babies unnecessarily exposed to deadly diseases by other kids whose parents are anti-vaxxers, to the frequent examples of how acceptance of evolution helps us stop diseases and pests (and in the case of Baby Fae, rejection of evolution was fatal), to the long-term effects of climate denial to the future of the planet we all depend upon. But one of the strangest forms of denialism is the weird coalition of people who refuse to accept the medical fact that the HIV virus causes AIDS. What the heck? Didn’t we resolve this issue in the 1980s when the AIDS condition first became epidemic and the HIV virus was discovered and linked to AIDS? Yes, we did—but for people who want to deny scientific reality, it doesn’t matter how many studies have been done, or how strong the scientific consensus is. There are a significant number of people out there (especially among countries and communities with high rates of AIDS infections) that refuse to accept medical reality. I described all of these at greater length in my new book Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten our Future.
Donald R. Prothero
to be Hungarian is not to belong to a people, but instead it’s an illness, an incurable, frightening disease, a misfortune of epidemic proportions that could overcome every single observer with nausea,
László Krasznahorkai (Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming)
The selflessness and dedication shown by many Greek doctors can be seen not only in such works as the Epidemics, but also in, for example, Thucydides’ account of the plague at Athens (II, 47ff.) – where he notes the high incidence of mortality from the disease among the doctors who attempted to treat it.
Hippocrates (Hippocratic Writings)
The major killers of humanity throughout our recent history—smallpox, flu, tuberculosis, malaria, plague, measles, and cholera—are infectious diseases that evolved from diseases of animals, even though most of the microbes responsible for our own epidemic illnesses are paradoxically now almost confined to humans.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (20th Anniversary Edition))
We must realize that mental problems are just as real as physical disease, and that anxiety and depression require active therapy as much as appendicitis or pneumonia,” wrote Dr. Howard Rusk, a professor at New York University who penned a weekly column for the New York Times. “They are all medical problems requiring medical care.”12
Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America)
When the next great epidemic does come, maps will be as crucial as vaccines in our fight against the disease. But again, the scale of the observation will have broadened considerably: from a neighborhood to an entire planet.
Steven Johnson (The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World)
There are two ways to tell the story of the twentieth century. You can describe a series of wars, revolutions, crises, epidemics, financial calamities. Or you can point to the gentle but inexorable rise in the quality of life of almost everybody on the planet: the swelling of income, the conquest of disease, the disappearance of parasites, the retreat of want, the increasing persistence of peace, the lengthening of life, the advances in technology.
Matt Ridley (The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge)
We think we can congratulate ourselves on having already reached such a pinnacle of clarity, imagining that we have left all these phantasmal gods far behind. But what we have left behind are only verbal specters, not the psychic facts that were responsible for the birth of the gods. We are still as much possessed today by autonomous psychic contents as if they were Olympians. Today they are called phobias, obsessions, and so forth; in a word, neurotic symptoms. The gods have become diseases; Zeus no long rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus, and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room, or disorders the brains of politicians and journalists who unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.32
James Hollis (Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up)
My dear Gorgas, Instead of being simply satisfied to make friends and draw your pay, it is worth doing your duty, to the best of your ability, for duty’s sake; and in doing this, while the indolent sleep, you may accomplish something that will be of real value to humanity. Your good friend, Reed Dr. Walter Reed encouraging Dr. William Gorgas who went on to make history eradicating Yellow Fever in Havana, 1902 and Panama, 1906, liberating the entire North American continent from centuries of Yellow Fever epidemics.
William Crawford Gorgas (Sanitation in Panama (Classic Reprint))
Stupid arbitrary shit means it will take a movie star to die and a hemophiliac teenager to die before ordinary people start to mobilize, start to feel that the disease needs to be stopped. Tens of thousands of people will die before drugs are made and drugs are approved. What a horrible feeling that is, to know that if the disease had primarily affected PTA presidents, or priests, or white teenage girls, the epidemic would have been ended years earlier, and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of lives would have been saved
David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing)
It’s like we've been flung back in time," he said. "Here we are in the Stone Age, knowing all these great things after centuries of progress but what can we do to make life easier for the Stone Agers? Can we make a refrigerator? Can we even explain how it works? What is electricity? What is light? We experience these things every day of our lives but what good does it do if we find ourselves hurled back in time and we can’t even tell people the basic principles much less actually make something that would improve conditions. Name one thing you could make. Could you make a simple wooden match that you could strike on a rock to make a flame? We think we’re so great and modern. Moon landings, artificial hearts. But what if you were hurled into a time warp and came face to face with the ancient Greeks. The Greeks invented trigonometry. They did autopsies and dissections. What could you tell an ancient Greek that he couldn’t say, ‘Big Deal.’ Could you tell him about the atom? Atom is a Greek word. The Greeks knew that the major events in the universe can’t be seen by the eye of man. It’s waves, it’s rays, it’s particles." “We’re doing all right.” “We’re sitting in this huge moldy room. It’s like we’re flung back.” “We have heat, we have light.” “These are Stone Age things. They had heat and light. They had fire. They rubbed flints together and made sparks. Could you rub flints together? Would you know a flint if you saw one? If a Stone Ager asked you what a nucleotide is, could you tell him? How do we make carbon paper? What is glass? If you came awake tomorrow in the Middle Ages and there was an epidemic raging, what could you do to stop it, knowing what you know about the progress of medicines and diseases? Here it is practically the twenty-first century and you’ve read hundreds of books and magazines and seen a hundred TV shows about science and medicine. Could you tell those people one little crucial thing that might save a million and a half lives?” “‘Boil your water,’ I’d tell them.” “Sure. What about ‘Wash behind your ears.’ That’s about as good.” “I still think we’re doing fairly well. There was no warning. We have food, we have radios.” “What is a radio? What is the principle of a radio? Go ahead, explain. You’re sitting in the middle of this circle of people. They use pebble tools. They eat grubs. Explain a radio.” “There’s no mystery. Powerful transmitters send signals. They travel through the air, to be picked up by receivers.” “They travel through the air. What, like birds? Why not tell them magic? They travel through the air in magic waves. What is a nucleotide? You don’t know, do you? Yet these are the building blocks of life. What good is knowledge if it just floats in the air? It goes from computer to computer. It changes and grows every second of every day. But nobody actually knows anything.
Don DeLillo (White Noise)
These diseases are not really there, are they? A: They can be if people choose to allow those energies to enter into their body. But for the most part, they are only in the energetic fields. And like anything else that is talked about, or thought about, it can become reality in the physical. D: Yes, if enough people accept it as their reality. A: But the diseases are extremely blown out of proportion, and they are not epidemics as they are portrayed to be. The media and the movies are showing you their desperation as they insist in presenting to the masses information that is completely negative and fear-based. Subject matter such as murder, death and betrayal, attacks and such that keep the consciousness focused on these matters, as opposed to portraying in the media images of hope and inspiration. But nevertheless, there are enough of those positive messages being broadcast at this time, that like a domino effect, they are no longer stoppable. D: Another fear the government is trying to promote is terrorism. A: Yes. It is just another tool, like the diseases, to find excuses to give people a reason to be afraid and not unify, but to trust that the government will solve their problems. They are imaginary problems, and in the subconscious, many people are becoming aware of this. They are no longer believing, although many are in the masses. But on their subconscious level, they are beginning to awaken, and the power knows this. That is the reason they are resorting to ridiculous stories that only those who wish to believe, believe in them because anybody with a logical and reasonable mind could not believe them.
Dolores Cannon (The Three Waves of Volunteers and the New Earth)
The timing of Thomas Lewis’ illness suggests one chilling alternative history. The Broad Street outbreak had subsided in part because the only viable route between the well and the neighborhood’s small intestines had run through the cesspool at 40 Broad. When baby Lewis died, the connection had died with it. But when her husband fell ill, Sarah Lewis began emptying the buckets of soiled water in the cesspool all over again. If Snow had not persuaded the Board of Governors to remove the handle when he did, the disease might have torn through the neighborhood all over again, the well water restocked with a fresh supply of V. cholerae. And so Snow’s intervention did not just help bring the outbreak to a close. It also prevented a second attack.
Steven Johnson (The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World)
The consequences of an ungrateful spirit are not as readily seen as, say, those of a contagious disease. But they are no less deadly. Western civilization has fallen prey to an epidemic of ingratitude. Like a poisonous vapor, this subtle sin is polluting our lives, our homes, our churches, and our culture.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy)
You and I may not live to see the day,” Snow explained to the young curate, “and my name may be forgotten when it comes; but the time will arrive when great outbreaks of cholera will be things of the past; and it is the knowledge of the way in which the disease is propagated which will cause them to disappear.
Steven Johnson (The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World)
Despite the prominence that "magic bullets" and "wonder drugs" hold in the layman's mind, most of the really decisive battles in the war against infectious disease consisted of measures to eliminate disease organisms from the environment. An example from history concerns the great outbreak of cholera in London more than one hundred years ago. A London physician, John Snow, mapped occurrence of cases and found they originated in one area, all of whose inhabitants drew their water from one pump located on Broad Street. In a swift and decisive practice of preventative medicine, Dr. Snow removed the handle from the pump. The epidemic was thereby brought under control - not by a magic pill that killed the (then unknown) organism of cholera, but by eliminating the organism from the environment.
Rachel Carson (Silent Spring)
She was in charge of the 'red team,' the group taking blood samples. (The group collecting urine to check pesticide exposure levels called themselves the 'gold team' in response.)
Maryn McKenna (Beating Back the Devil: On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service)
Ironically—or perhaps tellingly—the heart disease “epidemic” began after a period of exceptionally reduced meat eating.
Nina Teicholz (The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet)
But none of these drugs had been developed after scientists had identified any disease process or brain abnormality that might have been causing these symptoms.
Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America)
Unfortunately, not every dead body goes to what might be considered “noble ends.” There is a slim possibility that your donated head will be the head, the head that holds the key to the mysteries of the twenty-first century’s great disease epidemics. But it is equally possible your body will end up being used to train a new crop of Beverly Hills plastic surgeons in the art of the facelift. Or dumped out of a plane to test parachute technology. Your body is donated to science in a very . . . general way. Where your parts go is not up to you.
Caitlin Doughty (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory)
For the past twenty-five years, the psychiatric establishment has told us a false story. It told us that schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar illness are known to be brain diseases, even though—as the MindFreedom hunger strike revealed—it can’t direct us to any scientific studies that document this claim. It told us that psychiatric medications fix chemical imbalances in the brain, even though decades of research failed to find this to be so. It told us that Prozac and the other second-generation psychotropics were much better and safer than the first-generation drugs, even though the clinical studies had shown no such thing. Most important of all, the psychiatric establishment failed to tell us that the drugs worsen long-term outcomes.
Robert Whitaker (Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America)
History, Jared Diamond notes, is full of diseases that ‘once caused terrifying epidemics and then disappeared as mysteriously as they had come38’. He cites the robust but mercifully transient English sweating sickness, which raged from 1485 to 1552, killing tens of thousands as it went, before burning itself out. Too much efficiency is not a good thing for any infectious organism.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Tibet has not yet been infested by the worst disease of modern life, the everlasting rush. No one overworks here. Officials have an easy life. They turn up at the office late in the morning and leave for their homes early in the afternoon. If an official has guests or any other reason for not coming, he just sends a servant to a colleague and asks him to officiate for him. Women know nothing about equal rights and are quite happy as they are. They spend hours making up their faces, restringing their pearl necklaces, choosing new material for dresses, and thinking how to outshine Mrs. So-and-so at the next party. They do not have to bother about housekeeping, which is all done by the servants. But to show that she is mistress the lady of the house always carries a large bunch of keys around with her. In Lhasa every trifling object is locked up and double-locked. Then there is mah-jongg. At one time this game was a universal passion. People were simply fascinated by it and played it day and night, forgetting everything else—official duties, housekeeping, the family. The stakes were often very high and everyone played—even the servants, who sometimes contrived to lose in a few hours what they had taken years to save. Finally the government found it too much of a good thing. They forbade the game, bought up all the mah-jongg sets, and condemned secret offenders to heavy fines and hard labor. And they brought it off! I would never have believed it, but though everyone moaned and hankered to play again, they respected the prohibition. After mah-jongg had been stopped, it became gradually evident how everything else had been neglected during the epidemic. On Saturdays—the day of rest—people now played chess or halma, or occupied themselves harmlessly with word games and puzzles.
Heinrich Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet)
In 1828 Professor Bianchi demonstrated how the fearful reappearance of the plague at Modena was caused by excavations in ground where, THREE HUNDRED YEARS PREVIOUSLY, the victims of the pestilence had been buried. Mr. Cooper, in explaining the causes of some epidemics, remarks that the opening of the plague burial-grounds at Eyam resulted in an immediate outbreak of disease.'—NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, NO. 3, VOL. 135.
Mark Twain (Life on the Mississippi)
The Pandemic Sonnet This ain't the first time you've come to haunt us, And it won't be the last either. You thought you could break the species, But all you did is bring us together. You brought the world to almost a standstill, Yet we never stood still to let inaction take over. Each one of us did the best we could, And we'll keep on doing till your traces wither. We may have our differences at times, But when trouble knocks on our door we all stand one. We may act selfish sometimes, But in catastrophe we refrain from helping no one. However thanks for reminding us to leave wildlife alone, Otherwise all we'll have left to do is mourn.
Abhijit Naskar
The growing “epidemic” of stress, lifestyle diseases, and autoimmune diseases has no root cause according to mainstream medicine, yet that root cause seems simple to us: it’s really an epidemic of not loving the self.
Louise L. Hay (Loving Yourself to Great Health: Thoughts & Food--The Ultimate Diet)
[Nancy Reagan] and [Ronald Reagan] would’ve hated what was happening under their roof. While they were in the White House, they did their very best to ensure that people like me simply died. Their inaction in the face of the 1980s AIDS epidemic was nothing short of genocidal. It’s fitting that she’ll spend posterity draped in red, the color of blood, a color that has become the symbol of the disease she and her husband let run wild.
Jacob Tobia (Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story)
But what lies ahead for those who are young now? I can say with confidence that their future will depend more on science and technology than any previous generation’s has done. They need to know about science more than any before them because it is part of their daily lives in an unprecedented way. Without speculating too wildly, there are trends we can see and emerging problems that we know must be dealt with, now and into the future. Among the problems I count global warming, finding space and resources for the massive increase in the Earth’s human population, rapid extinction of other species, the need to develop renewable energy sources, the degradation of the oceans, deforestation and epidemic diseases—just to name a few. There are also the great inventions of the future, which will revolutionise the ways we live, work, eat, communicate and travel. There is such enormous scope for innovation in every area of life. This is exciting. We could be mining rare metals on the Moon, establishing a human outpost on Mars and finding cures and treatments for conditions which currently offer no hope. The huge questions of existence still remain unanswered—how did life begin on Earth? What is consciousness? Is there anyone out there or are we alone in the universe? These are questions for the next generation to work on.
Stephen Hawking (Brief Answers to the Big Questions)
As it does today, malaria played a huge role in the past—a role unlike that of other diseases, and arguably larger. When Europeans brought smallpox and influenza to the Americas, they set off epidemics: sudden outbursts that shot through Indian towns and villages, then faded. Malaria, by contrast, became endemic, an ever-present, debilitating presence in the landscape. Socially speaking, malaria—along with another mosquito-borne disease, yellow fever—turned the Americas upside down. Before these maladies arrived, the most thickly inhabited terrain north of Mexico was what is now the southeastern United States, and the wet forests of Mesoamerica and Amazonia held millions of people. After malaria and yellow fever, these previously salubrious areas became inhospitable. Their former inhabitants fled to safer lands; Europeans who moved into the emptied real estate often did not survive a year.
Charles C. Mann (1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created)
A grotesque thought struck Benji: Humankind was a disease. The earth was the body. Climate change was the fever. And in that fever, in that rising of global temperature, the earth was able to release new defenses. White Mask was not here to kill the world. It was here to kill the people—the fungus would serve as a vicious defense mechanism to eradicate the infection of humanity. This epidemic represented antibodies to restore balance to the body. Kill the parasite and save the host.
Chuck Wendig (Wanderers)
Ignorance of nature’s ways led people in ancient times to invent gods to lord it over every aspect of human life. There were gods of love and war; of the sun, earth, and sky; of the oceans and rivers; of rain and thunderstorms; even of earthquakes and volcanoes. When the gods were pleased, mankind was treated to good weather, peace, and freedom from natural disaster and disease. When they were displeased, there came drought, war, pestilence, and epidemics. Since the connection of cause and effect in nature was invisible to their eyes, these gods appeared inscrutable, and people at their mercy. But with Thales of Miletus (ca. 624 BC–ca. 546 BC) about 2,600 years ago, that began to change. The idea arose that nature follows consistent principles that could be deciphered. And so began the long process of replacing the notion of the reign of gods with the concept of a universe that is governed by laws of nature, and created according to a blueprint we could someday learn to read.
Stephen Hawking (The Grand Design)
occasional outbreaks of those two super-contagious diseases, fear and greed, will forever occur in the investment community. The timing of these epidemics will be unpredictable. And the market aberrations produced by them will be equally unpredictable, both as to duration and degree. Therefore, we never try to anticipate the arrival or departure of either disease. Our goal is more modest: we simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful. As
Daniel Pecaut (University of Berkshire Hathaway: 30 Years of Lessons Learned from Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger at the Annual Shareholders Meeting)
The Mayflower sped across the white-tipped waves once the voyage was under way, and the passengers were quickly afflicted with seasickness. The crew took great delight in the sufferings of the landlubbers and tormented them mercilessly. "There is an insolent and very profane young man, Bradford wrote, "who was always harrassing the poor people in their sickness, and cursing them daily with greivous execrations." He even laughed that he hoped to 'throw half of them overboard before they came to their journey's end.' The Puritans believe a just God punished the young sailor for his cruelty when, halfway through the voyage, 'it pleased God...to smite the young man with a greivous disease, of which he died in a desperate manner." He was the first to be thrown overboard.
Tony Williams (The Pox and the Covenant: Mather, Franklin, and the Epidemic That Changed America's Destiny)
First, a sad paradox. Medical research has become more laboratory oriented in the last fifty years. To be sure, this shift has produced some impressive results. But at the same time, human biology is not exclusively mechanical, and there are limits to what the laboratory can accurately study. The laboratory study of infectious diseases has been magnificent—it is very straightforward. But its very success has deflected attention from the influence of emotions. As a result, medical research has failed abysmally in many areas.
John E. Sarno (The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders)
One of the interesting takeaways from both the Antonine plague and polio is what a difference a strong leader can make during an epidemic. Marcus Aurelius’s swift response to the Antonine plague—and his attempt to help cover expenses for the general populace and rebuild the parts of the army decimated by the disease—staved off the fall of the Roman Empire, at least temporarily. When FDR took up polio as a cause, America followed his lead and went to work eradicating it. Although his role may not have been as significant, Eisenhower is also to be commended for trying to ensure that cost did not prohibit any child from receiving the polio vaccine, and that the vaccine was shared with the world. Those men each acknowledged the seriousness of their crises and went about bravely confronting the disease in their midst head-on. They did not ignore it or glamorize it or shame people for having it, because that never works. That strategy just gives diseases more time to multiply and kill people. Diseases are delighted when you refuse to take them seriously.
Jennifer Wright
The humans who domesticated animals were the first to fall victim to the newly evolved germs, but those humans then evolved substantial resistance to the new diseases. When such partly immune people came into contact with others who had had no previous exposure to the germs, epidemics resulted in which up to 99 percent of the previously unexposed population was killed. Germs thus acquired ultimately from domestic animals played decisive roles in the European conquests of Native Americans, Australians, South Africans, and Pacific islanders.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies)
In one respect New Orleans has set an example for all the world in the fight against yellow fever. The first impression was the complete organization of the citizens and the rational and reasonable way in which the fight has been conducted by them. With a tangible enemy in view, the army of defense could begin to fight rationally and scientifically. The... spirit in which the citizens of New Orleans sallied forth to win this fight strikes one who has been witness to the profound gloom, distress, and woe that cloud every other epidemic city. Rupert Boyce, Dean of Liverpool School of Tropical Diseases, 1905
Rupert Boyce
November 2, 1984 was an especially tragic day in the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/AIDS epidemic. That was the day Anthony Fauci became the Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (NIAID). (Good Intentions p.128) It was the day a thin-skinned, physically ultra-diminutive man with a legendary Napoleonic attitude was positioned by destiny to become the de facto AIDS Czar. In the fog of culpability that constitutes what could be called "Holocaust II" one thing is clear: the buck, on its way to the very top of the government, at least pauses at the megalomaniac desk of Anthony Fauci.
Charles Ortleb (Fauci: The Bernie Madoff of Science and the HIV Ponzi Scheme that Concealed the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic)
This extreme treatment was among the proliferating regimens developed in response to the stunning increase in nervous disorders diagnosed around the turn of the century. Commentators and clinicians cited a number of factors related to the stresses of modern civilization: the increased speed of communication facilitated by the telegraph and railroad; the “unmelodious” clamor of city life replacing the “rhythmical” sounds of nature; and the rise of the tabloid press that exploded “local horrors” into national news. These nervous diseases became an epidemic among “the ultracompetitive businessman and the socially active woman.
Doris Kearns Goodwin (The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism)
As a special branch of general philosophy, pathogenesis had never been explored. In my opinion it had never been approached in a strictly scientific fashion--that is to say, objectively, amorally, intellectually. All those who have written on the subject are filled with prejudice. Before searching out and examining the mechanism of causes of disease, they treat of 'disease as such', condemn it as an exceptional and harmful condition, and start out by detailing the thousand and one ways of combating it, disturbing it, destroying it; they define health, for this purpose, as a 'normal' condition that is absolute and immutable. Diseases ARE. We do not make or unmake them at will. We are not their masters. They make us, they form us. They may even have created us. They belong to this state of activity which we call life. They may be its main activity. They are one of the many manifestations of universal matter. They may be the principal manifestation of that matter which we will never be able to study except through the phenomena of relationships and analogies. Diseases are a transitory, intermediary, future state of health. It may be that they are health itself. Coming to a diagnosis is, in a way, casting a physiological horoscope. What convention calls health is, after all, no more than this or that passing aspect of a morbid condition, frozen into an abstraction, a special case already experienced, recognized, defined, finite, extracted and generalized for everybody's use. Just as a word only finds its way into the Dictionary Of The French Academy when it is well worn stripped of the freshness of its popular origin or of the elegance of its poetic value, often more than fifty years after its creation (the last edition of the learned Dictionary is dated 1878), just as the definition given preserves a word, embalms it in its decrepitude, but in a pose which is noble, hypocritical and arbitrary--a pose it never assumed in the days of its vogue, while it was still topical, living and meaningful--so it is that health, recognized as a public Good, is only the sad mimic of some illness which has grown unfashionable, ridiculous and static, a solemnly doddering phenomenon which manages somehow to stand on its feet between the helping hands of its admirers, smiling at them with its false teeth. A commonplace, a physiological cliche, it is a dead thing. And it may be that health is death itself. Epidemics, and even more diseases of the will or collective neuroses, mark off the different epochs of human evolution, just as tellurian cataclysms mark the history of our planet.
Blaise Cendrars (Moravagine)
I read the miserable story of the play in which she was the one true loving soul. It obviously described the spread of an epidemic brain fever which, like typhoid, was perhaps caused by seepings from the palace graveyard into the Elsinore water supply. From an inconspicuous start among sentries on the battlements the infection spread through prince, king, prime minister and courtiers causing hallucinations, logomania and paranoia resulting in insane suspicions and murderous impulses. I imagined myself entering the palace quite early in the drama with all the executive powers of an efficient public health officer. The main carriers of the disease (Claudius, Polonius and the obviously incurable Hamlet) would he quarantined in separate wards. A fresh water supply and efficient modern plumbing would soon set the Danish state right and Ophelia, seeing this gruff Scottish doctor pointing her people toward a clean and healthy future, would be powerless to withhold her love.
Alasdair Gray (Poor Things)
We must practice social distancing and stay at home for a while, because that's the only way to stop the corona virus from spreading. However, we must also keep in mind that not everybody is in the position to work from home, nor do they have enough savings to make ends meet without work for even a few days. So, now, more than ever, is the time that we wake up the human in us, and come to the rescue of those in need, by either helping such individuals in our locality personally, or by donating to a covid-19 relief fund. We must make sure that we all have each other's back and that we all get through this catastrophe together, without leaving anyone behind.
Abhijit Naskar
It has already been mentioned that Duke Felmet was one step away from the throne. The step in question was at the top of the flight leading to the Great Hall, down which King Verence had tumbled in the dark only to land, against all laws of probability, on his own dagger. It had, however, been declared by his own physician to be a case of natural causes. Bentzen had gone to see the man and explained that falling down a flight of steps with a dagger in your back was a disease caused by unwise opening of the mouth. In fact it had already been caught by several members of the king's own bodyguard who had been a little bit hard of hearing. There had been a minor epidemic.
Terry Pratchett (Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6; Witches, #2))
When the Black Death swept through 14th century Europe, killing upwards of 200 million people and forever altering the course of human history, one of the original culprits of the epidemic was said to be the black rat, carrying plague-infested fleas into population centers to wreak their destruction. This is, in fact, not true. The true perpetrator was actually the Asian great gerbil, who took advantage of the warmer climate to travel the silk road and bring the disease into Europe. This is only important to know because Ralph, champion pit fighter of the kobold training grounds, lives his life in a perpetual state of rage. Why? Because he feels that human death toll of 200 million is much too low, and he will do everything in his power to triple that number. Starting with you. The only survivor of a family of gerbils left to starve by a child who’d grown bored with the pets, Ralph had to commit unspeakable acts of cannibalism in order to endure. Part earth rodent, part the embodiment of death, Frenzied Gerbils are regular mobs one might encounter on the fifth or seventh floors. But Ralph here is special. He has dedicated his existence to fighting and training in hopes that one day he might exact his revenge against the humans he so despises. He is fast, he is angry,
Matt Dinniman (Dungeon Crawler Carl (Dungeon Crawler Carl, #1))
The contamination of drinking water in dense urban settlements did not merely affect the number of V. cholerae circulating through the small intestines of mankind. It also greatly increased the lethality of the bacteria. This is an evolutionary principle that has long been observed in populations of disease-spreading microbes. Bacteria and viruses evolve at much faster rates than humans do, for several reasons. For one, bacterial life cycles are incredibly fast: a single bacterium can produce a million offspring in a matter of hours. Each new generation opens up new possibilities for genetic innovation, either by new combinations of existing genes or by random mutations. Human genetic change is several orders of magnitude slower; we have to go through a whole fifteen-year process of maturation before we can even think about passing our genes to a new generation.
Steven Johnson (The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World)
The use of vaccine in the control of yellow fever should occupy more or less the same place that typhoid fever vaccine has in the control of typhoid fever. No sanitary authority would desire to substitute typhoid vaccine for the supply of pure water and food, so we must not accept the yellow fever vaccine as a substitute for the elimination of Aedes aegypti. The vaccine provides individual protection for the person who cannot be protected by more general measures.
Fred Lowe Soper
There is a tendency for people affected by this epidemic to police each other or prescribe what the most important gestures would be for dealing with this experience of loss. I resent that. At the same time, I worry that friends will slowly become professional pallbearers, waiting for each death of their lovers, friends, and neighbors, and polishing their funeral speeches; perfecting their rituals of death rather than a relatively simple ritual of life such as screaming in the streets. I worry because of the urgency of the situations, because of seeing death coming in from the edges of abstraction where those with the luxury of time have cast it. I imagine what it would be like if friends had a demonstration each time a lover or a friend or a stranger died of AIDS. I imagine what it would be like if, each time a lover, friend or stranger died of this disease, their friends, lovers or neighbors would take the dead body and drive with it in a car a hundred miles an hour to washington d.c. and blast through the gates of the white house and come to a screeching halt before the entrance and dump their lifeless form on the front steps. It would be comforting to see those friends, neighbors, lovers and strangers mark time and place and history in such a public way. But, bottom line, this is my own feelings of urgency and need; bottom line, emotionally, even a tiny charcoal scratching done as a gesture to mark a person's response to this epidemic means whole worlds to me if it is hung in public; bottom line, each and every gesture carries a reverberation that is meaningful in its diversity; bottom line, we have to find our own forms of gesture and communication. You can never depend on the mass media to reflect us or our needs or our states of mind; bottom line, with enough gestures we can deafen the satellites and lift the curtains surrounding the control room.
David Wojnarowicz (Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration)
I did what I could to help the people I met: I treated the sick, I fed the hungry, and I even tried to stop the violence throughout the land. Unfortunately, nothing I did prevented the disease and destitution from spreading. However, it wasn’t interaction your world needed; it was inspiration. In a world dominated by ruthless kings and warlords, the ideas of self-worth and self-empowerment were unheard of. So I started telling stories about my world to entertain and raise spirits, especially the poor children’s. Little did I know it would become the greatest contribution of my lifetime. I told stories about cowards who became heroes, peasants who became powerful, and the lonely who became beloved. The stories taught many lessons, but most important, they taught the world how to dream. The ability to dream was a much-needed introduction to hope, and it spread like a powerful epidemic. Families passed the stories from generation to generation, and over the years I watched their compassion and courage
Chris Colfer (An Author's Odyssey (The Land of Stories #5))
The major killers of humanity throughout our recent history—smallpox, flu, tuberculosis, malaria, plague, measles, and cholera—are infectious diseases that evolved from diseases of animals, even though most of the microbes responsible for our own epidemic illnesses are paradoxically now almost confined to humans. Because diseases have been the biggest killers of people, they have also been decisive shapers of history. Until World War II, more victims of war died of war-borne microbes than of battle wounds.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (20th Anniversary Edition))
Wolf was taken aback. This was the 1950s, years before the advent of cholesterol-lowering drugs and aggressive measures to prevent heart disease. Heart attacks were an epidemic in the United States. They were the leading cause of death in men under the age of sixty-five. It was impossible to be a doctor, common sense said, and not see heart disease. Wolf decided to investigate. He enlisted the support of some of his students and colleagues from Oklahoma. They gathered together the death certificates from residents of the
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
Ancient foragers also suffered less from infectious diseases. Most of the infectious diseases that have plagued agricultural and industrial societies (such as smallpox, measles and tuberculosis) originated in domesticated animals and were transferred to humans only after the Agricultural Revolution. Ancient foragers, who had domesticated only dogs, were free of these scourges. Moreover, most people in agricultural and industrial societies lived in dense, unhygienic permanent settlements – ideal hotbeds for disease. Foragers roamed the land in small bands that could not sustain epidemics.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Yes, our social and economic circumstances shape decisions we make about all sorts of things in life, including sex. Sometimes they rob us of the power to make any decisions at all. But of all human activity, sex is among the least likely to fit neatly into the blueprint of rational decision making favoured by economists. To quote my friend Claire in Istanbul, sex is about 'conquest, fantasy, projection, infatuation, mood, anger, vanity, love, pissing off your parents, the risk of getting caught, the pleasure of cuddling afterwards, the thrill of having a secret, feeling desirable, feeling like a man, feeling like a woman, bragging to your mates the next day, getting to see what someone looks like naked and a million-and-one-other-things.' When sex isn't fun, it is often lucrative, or part of a bargain which gives you access to something you want or need. If HIV is spread by 'poverty and gender equality', how come countries that have plenty of both, such as Bangladesh, have virtually no HIV? How come South Africa and Botswana, which have the highest female literacy and per capita incomes in Africa, are awash with HIV, while countries that score low on both - such as Guinea, Somalia, Mali, and Sierra Leone - have epidemics that are negligible by comparison? How come in country after country across Africa itself, from Cameroon to Uganda to Zimbabwe and in a dozen other countries as well, HIV is lowest in the poorest households, and highest in the richest households? And how is it that in many countries, more educated women are more likely to be infested with HIV than women with no schooling? For all its cultural and political overtones, HIV is an infectious disease. Forgive me for thinking like an epidemiologist, but it seems to me that if we want to explain why there is more of it in one place than another, we should go back and take a look at the way it is spread.
Elizabeth Pisani (The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS)
We even save a few lives, but only a fraction of the lives that need to be saved. Soon, we will leave and when we leave there will be nothing to take our place. The meningitis epidemic, cholera, measles, typhoid fever, all preventable diseases, will return and continue as before. The only solution is a political solution, national public health programs, responsible corporations who reap only as much as they sow. Shell Oil with a conscience. Nigeria doesn't need us. What we do here is less than nothing. We take the pressure off the powers that be, making it easier for those who plunder to keep on plundering. This is the humanitarian aid paradox.
Pamela Grim (Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives: Tales of Life and Death from the ER)
One of our greatest epidemics today is obesity. It is estimated that more than 500 million people suffer from obesity worldwide today, and that it kills more than three million people each year. In comparison, about 55,000 people are killed in war each year, which of course in no way suggests that we are overestimating the horror and seriousness of war – how could we? – but the little attention we give to obesity in comparison does suggest, however, that we are not taking the “war” we should be waging against obesity seriously. It seems that we overlook what a merciless killer and cause of pain that obesity and the overeating that leads to it really is: it increases the risk of heart disease (the most common cause of death worldwide), many kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes, degenerative joint disease and mental problems such as depression and low self-esteem.[27] Fortunately, a lot seems to imply that we have a powerful and peaceful weapon at our hands that can help us overcome obesity: a vegan diet.
Magnus Vinding (Why We Should Go Vegan)
Most people, who choose or are coerced into only identifying with “positive” feelings, usually wind up in an emotionally lifeless middle ground – bland, deadened, and dissociated in an unemotional “no-man’s-land.” Moreover, when a person tries to hold onto a preferred feeling for longer than its actual tenure, she often appears as unnatural and phony as ersatz grass or plastic flowers. If instead, she learns to surrender willingly to the normal human experience that good feelings always ebb and flow, she will eventually be graced with a growing ability to renew herself in the vital waters of emotional flexibility. The repression of the so-called negative polarities of emotion causes much unnecessary pain, as well as the loss of many essential aspects of the feeling nature. In fact, much of the plethora of loneliness, alienation, and addictive distraction that plagues modern industrial societies is a result of people being taught and forced to reject, pathologize or punish so many of their own and others’ normal feeling states. Nowhere, not in the deepest recesses of the self, or in the presence of his closest friends, is the average person allowed to have and explore any number of normal emotional states. Anger, depression, envy, sadness, fear, distrust, etc., are all as normal a part of life as bread and flowers and streets. Yet, they have become ubiquitously avoided and shameful human experiences. How tragic this is, for all of these emotions have enormously important and healthy functions in a wholly integrated psyche. One dimension where this is most true is in the arena of healthy self-protection. For without access to our uncomfortable or painful feelings, we are deprived of the most fundamental part of our ability to notice when something is unfair, abusive, or neglectful in our environments. Those who cannot feel their sadness often do not know when they are being unfairly excluded, and those who cannot feel their normal angry or fearful responses to abuse, are often in danger of putting up with it without protest. Perhaps never before has humankind been so alienated from so many of its normal feeling states, as it is in the twenty-first century. Never before have so many human beings been so emotionally deadened and impoverished. The disease of emotional emaciation is epidemic. Its effects on health are often euphemistically labeled as stress, and like the emotions, stress is often treated like some unwanted waste that must be removed.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
HUNGER AND OBESITY The change in diets around the world is also creating a global obesity epidemic—and in its wake a global diabetes epidemic—even as more than 900 million people in the world still suffer from chronic hunger. In the United States, where many global trends begin, the weight of the average American has increased by approximately twenty pounds in the last forty years. A recent study projects that half the adult population of the United States will be obese by 2030, with one quarter of them “severely obese.” At a time when hunger and malnutrition are continuing at still grossly unacceptable levels in poor countries around the world (and in some pockets within developed countries), few have missed the irony that simultaneously obesity is at record levels in developed countries and growing in many developing countries. How could this be? Well, first of all, it is encouraging to note that the world community has been slowly but steadily decreasing the number of people suffering from chronic hunger. Secondly, on a global basis, obesity has more than doubled in the last thirty years. According to the World Health Organization, almost 1.5 billion adults above the age of twenty are overweight, and more than a third of them are classified as obese. Two thirds of the world’s population now live in countries where more people die from conditions related to being obese and overweight than from conditions related to being underweight. Obesity represents a major risk factor for the world’s leading cause of death—cardiovascular diseases, principally heart disease and stroke—and is the major risk factor for diabetes, which has now become the first global pandemic involving a noncommunicable disease.* Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to suffer heart disease or a stroke, and approximately two thirds of those suffering from diabetes die from either stroke or heart disease.† The tragic increase in obesity among children is particularly troubling; almost 17 percent of U.S. children are obese today, as are almost 7 percent of all children in the world. One respected study indicates that 77 percent of obese children will suffer from obesity as adults. If there is any good news in the latest statistics, it is that the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. appears to be reaching a plateau, though the increases in childhood obesity ensure that the epidemic will continue to grow in the future, both in the U.S. and globally. The causes of this surge in obesity are both simple—in that people are eating too much and exercising
Al Gore (The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change)