Peter Neilson's Speech at The Principles for Sustainable Insurance Conference
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Mortality Risk Factors

I found this fascinating chart in a Ministry of Health report titled "The Health of New Zealand".

As a single cause, Tobacco causes the most deaths of all risk factors. But many, many, of the other factors are also essentially 'lifestyle' choices. The introduction to the report notes that Nutrition-related risks factors rank highly. Nutrition, you see, figures large in cholesterol levels, blood pressue risks, BMI (obviously), Type 2 Diabetes, and lack of fruit and veges. One might consider insufficient physical activity as a closely related factor to nutrition (the level required is lower if you eat less, and you are less likely to exercise properly if you are overweight). 

Then we get down to a genuinely 'external' factor - and a surprisingly large one too: "adverse in-hospital health care events" - that's not all deaths, that's only deaths from the care. I was astonished to see that I was about three times as likely to be killed in hospital than on the roads.

Air pollution is a bigger issue that alcohol and drugs - who knew? I'm getting greener by the minute reading this.Violence - murder and suicide - again, a bigger issue that road safety.

The lesson, I am sorry to tell you is that your future, folks, is largely in your own hands. You can start with a re-think of what's for lunch.

Mortality Burden Risk Factors 1996 to 1998



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