UPDATED: Jun 23, 2020
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As term life insurance professionals, our mission is to help people protect their loved ones with term life insurance coverage. We accomplish our mission by educating people about term life insurance and how it works, as well as showing them how they can secure coverage at the lowest possible price. This is why you often see our blogs filled with interesting facts such as how to prevent common diseases, strange ways that people die or how to outlive your term life insurance policy by implementing subtle lifestyle changes.
A healthy lifestyle plays a big part in qualifying for term life insurance at low rates. So does avoiding high-risk activities such as tobacco/nicotine use and irresponsible driving habits. You may have heard the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently recommended cell phone use to be banned while driving to prevent traffic deaths due to distracted driving. This news has been met with mixed reviews. Many people feel safer when there are fewer distracted drivers on the road. While others believe such a ban goes too far in trying to control how we choose to live our lives.
Regardless, public safety usually trumps the right to talk on a phone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,474 people died in 2009 due to distracted driving. Of those deaths, at least 995 were directly caused by cell phone use while driving. The following statistics from 2008 provide some perspective:
- 3,548 deaths due to unintentional drowning
- 18,223 deaths due to suicide by firearms
- 616,828 deaths due to heart disease
What About The Leader?
Preventing deaths in undoubtedly important to most people, so you can’t help but wonder why there isn’t more focus on preventing the leading cause of deaths in the US — heart disease. What would happen if the government banned lifestyle choices that can lead to this insidious disease?
It’s true a person can be genetically predisposed to heart disease. And our blog on this topic explains how this can affect your application for term life insurance. However, lifestyle factors such as tobacco/nicotine use, poor dietary habits, stress and lack of exercise play a significant role as well. Sadly, many people develop heart disease solely due to lifestyle choices, just as many car accidents are due to cell phone use while driving. Both are easily preventable.
A world with regulations on high-risk activities may look something like this:
- Tobacco and alcohol are banned.
- Trans-fat in foods is banned.
- Fast foods and junk foods are highly taxed.
- Warning labels are added to fast foods and junk foods.
- Marketing of fast foods and junk foods to children is banned.
- School lunch reform is reformed.
- Mandatory physical education and nutrition classes are implemented in all schools.
- Tax rebates are given for maintaining an exercise program and a healthy weight/BMI.
- Government subsidies focusing on fruits and vegetables are implemented.
Can We Fix It?
It sounds like Americans might be a lot healthier if the above changes were made, right? But are such changes are realistic on a large scale? Some of these ideas have already been recommended by lawmakers. Other countries are more aggressive than the US in this area. For example, Denmark has implemented a ‘fat tax’ on foods that contain more than 2.3% saturated fat.
Of course, you don’t need to wait for regulations to begin the move toward a healthier lifestyle. Eliminating even one or two high-risk factors from your life can have a significant impact on your overall health. In addition to enjoying a healthier and longer life, your improved health will help you secure term life insurance at a lower price!
Do you think regulations that attempt to control heart disease, diabetes or other health hazards are a good or bad idea?