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What are Considered Western Diseases and What Causes Them?

Updated on January 14, 2010

Have you heard the term "western diseases" before? It is a term for illnesses, diseases and conditions that are found only in western culture. One of the main reasons for these diseases is the "western diet". The way Americans eat is not good for us and because of this a whole new slew of health problems have arisen.

I am finding conflicting information as to exactly what diseases are included in western diseases, but for sure high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases are included in this term. Other illnesses like prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and others seem a bit more common place throughout the world, but possibly there are an increased number of these cases among us Westerners.

The Western Diet is one that includes many processed foods, many fake ingredients, foods that come from a box, and fast food. Westerners have gotten away from eating real food. You know - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and good for you meat (not antibiotic laden highly processed meats). Instead we think of cooking from scratch to mean opening a box or can and adding a few ingredients to that. Cooking from scratch with real ingredients is different. Eating real food should mean that food looks like food. Potatoes are not flakes from a box and cheese is not in powder form.

Most people don't even cook at home anymore. They might heat up some frozen waffles or microwave some chicken nuggets, but as for cooking - that seems to be a thing of the past. Most Americans (a country where the western diseases are the most prevalent) eat at restaurants on the run. French fries do not count as a vegetable. Fast food, or even food eaten at a nice restaurant is not made with your health in mind. The sodium and fat content of foods from restaurants is staggering, compared to what you would use at home.

Believe it or not, the way we eat, the foods we eat, and where we eat all affect our health. We will pay for our poor food choices for decades to come. These western diseases are causing all sorts of problems and doctors and researchers all over the world are trying to find cures. I think the cure is to eat right and the chances are good that you will never have these problems to begin with. Wouldn't it be nice to be perfectly healthy well into your 80's or 90's? That is what I am aiming for and you should too.

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    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

      Good thoughts. I hope people will start to realize this soon, instead of worrying about how we can get more and more 'health care'. I remember when the meat counters at the store held raw meats-- now it is more than half pre-packaged, pre-prepared, pre-processed and pre-cooked items.

      Ah for the good old days of the American West when western diseases were trigger finger and saddle sores.

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      Too true!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Add genetically modified foods and irradiated filthy meat and our diet is complete. I just wrote a hub about how so much of what we eat is banned in the EU - but we Americans eat it. Other countries would not even touch this toxic stuff - but we Americans eat it. And then turn to deadly toxic pharmaceuticals. It's almost like...well, like we are stupid.

      And guess what happens to the tons of recalled meat - yes, as I wrote in my hub and another hubber used the best word - 'repurposed' - yes, the toxic meat is cooked and put back on the shelves.

      If nothing else Jennifer, let's think about the children of this culture who are suffering and vow to spare them a future of obesity and chronic 'Western' ailments.

      Thanks for this hub - it helps keep the information out there.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 7 years ago from Oklahoma

      This is so true. It's hard to do it right with America's fast paced schedules but it is much healthier in the long run.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      A very interesting hub with a lot of thought and research. Thank you.

    • Hussains profile image

      Hussains 7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

      The "Western diet" is much like the "Asian diet" in my country. The fast multiplying numbers of fast food restaurants have caused the people to relegate to the background the traditional healthier foods of fish, fruits, and vegetables that nourished our great great grandparents.

      Fast and easy to order foods are fatty with less fiber, the absence of which is blamed for the western diseases you mentioned. As a diabetic, myself, I know the role of foods rich in fiber which is wanting in many diets today. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • amymarie_5 profile image

      amymarie_5 6 years ago from Chicago IL

      Couldnt agree more! My mom used to always cook from scratch (dad too) the only canned food in our home was tuna. I eat whole foods everyday, if I'm on the run and stop for fast food I can feel the difference. Tired, bloated and hungry again after an hr. Food is supposed to give you energy. Imagine how I'd be after years of eating processed food.

    • rosika profile image

      rosika 5 years ago

      good points made....now that we are all just worried about our career, looking good and easy lifestyle, our health is definitely compromised!

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