Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's Time to Update the Antiquated Life Insurance Quiz

While being interviewed for a new life insurance policy recently, I was asked a lot of questions. Some of them were relevant (Do you smoke? Do you drink? What’s your medical history?), but there were plenty not asked that, I believe, should be standard for these sessions.

No time was spent finding out how I keep myself healthy. Yes, family illnesses are important, but why no questions about what I eat or how much I exercise? To think there is no correlation between lifestyle and health is neolithic, yet, judging from my interview, the life insurance companies fail to see the connection.

As Mark Bittman wrote in his New York Times column two weeks ago:

"In the scheme of things, saving the 38 billion bucks that Congress seems poised to agree upon is not a big deal. A big deal is saving a trillion bucks. And we could do that by preventing disease instead of treating it.

"For the first time in history, lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart disease, some cancers and others kill more people than communicable ones. Treating these diseases — and futile attempts to “cure” them — costs a fortune, more than one-seventh of our GDP.

"But they’re preventable, and you prevent them the same way you cause them: lifestyle. A sane diet, along with exercise, meditation and intangibles like love prevent and even reverse disease. A sane diet alone would save us hundreds of billions of dollars and maybe more."
With that in mind, here are some of the questions I think the insurance companies should be asking. Feel free to add others.
  • How often do you exercise?
  • How often you eat in fast food restaurants?
  • How often do you eat organic fruits and vegetables?
  • How often do you eat foods that contain genetically modified corn and soy, which have been sprayed with a ton of pesticides?
  • How often do you eat grass-fed meat and dairy products?
  • How often do you eat bleached white food products such as rice and breads?
  • How often do you cook dinner from scratch?
  • How often do you drink sodas and sports drinks?

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