Our Volunteers

Chronic Disease: Information & Political Activism

Chronic diseases in the U.S. include asthma, diabetes, obesity, COPD, heart disease, arthritis, epilepsy, and some forms of cancer among others. Chronic diseases are responsible for 70% of annual deaths1. Based on the current trends, the 21st century will house older, heavier individuals. Increased survival due to modern medical and public health advances allow us to live longer with significant disease. Regardless of age and gender, four preventable behaviors are linked with chronic diseases that affect our quality of life as well as cause morbidity and mortality2.

  • Tobacco use
    • 21% of U.S. adults smoke and 20% of high school students have smoked within the past 30 days3
    • At least 50 carcinogens are contained in second hand smoke and nonsmokers exposed at home/work suffer increased heart disease and lung cancer risk by about 20-30%4
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
    • Alcohol is involved in 40% of traffic deaths5
    • Excessive alcohol consumption deaths leading to drunk driving, cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, stroke, and falls account for greater than 100,000 deaths per year in the U.S.6
  • Poor/Over nutrition
    • 17% of children 6-11 are overweight7 while 67% of adults are overweight or obese8
    • Only 24% of adults and about 22% of high school students report eating 5+ fruits and vegetables per day9
  • Sedentary lifestyles
    • 36% of adults report no leisure time physical activity10