Number one Cause of Chronic Diseases | RootHealthMD

Number one Cause of Chronic Diseases

The number one cause of chronic disease is not genetic, nor environmental but behavioral – 90% of the chronic diseases come from lack of physical activity, poor diet, lack of sleep and lack of stress management skills. 

Every day and every minute we make so many choices. What affects our behavior? Our modern lifestyle with processed food, so many restaurants and fast foods on every corner  make it hard to make good food choices. 

In this modern world it is ever harder to make successful changes in behavior. 

You must have guessed by now the number one cause is ‘The lack of will power’. 

To make any positive change, we rely on willpower. Modern tech makes it hard to get good sleep. 

Willpower is the ability to resist short-term gratification in pursuit of long-term goals or objectives.

Fewer than 10% engage in healthy behavior.

Willpower rarely works. This is why 90% of New Year resolutions fail each year. Is this because we are all lazy? No the truth is willpower is not a great strategy for changing behavior. You should never rely on it when you are trying to make new habits or let go of old ones. Willpower works like a muscle. It gets increasingly tired the more you use it. Just like our cellphone battery. It is not that you have it or don’t have it. It is a limited resource. What looks like laziness is often simple exhaustion. 

A simple strategy that worked for me is

 ‘Shrinking the change’

Take the big change and break it into small achievable steps. if you are facing a daunting task, and your instinct is to avoid it, you’ve got to break down the task. Shrink the change. Make the change small enough that you can’t help but score a victory.

Getting small wins — is, I think, a pretty powerful idea.


A  patient said no time to exercise.

The first step, is just to watch a YouTube video on exercise, the next step – is simple 5-minute moves at home,  the next week – walking in the neighborhood, and the next step – walking half a mile a day, walk on the nearby walking trail. In less than a month this person will be so motivated to go for a 2-mile walk daily. 

Similar steps to a diet, a person who does not like to cook, starts with just doing healthy vegetable shopping first, boiling the water and making tea, boiling egg, making steamed rice, just boiling vegetables, and simply sautéing even with frozen vegetables. These simple changes are going to make a huge difference. 

The small wins generate the momentum to carry you towards the next step. Making the progress visible by tracking and celebrating each win is another important thing to do.

Make your steps small, concrete and doable. 

This actually helps your brain release the neurotransmitter dopamine. This is responsible for pleasure, learning and motivation. You experience greater concentration and re-experience the activity that triggers the dopamine release. This is why shrinking the change works. Dopamine rewires the brain for continued success with each win. On the other hand if you fail, the brain depletes dopamine. The brain learns from success, not failure. 

Make your steps small, concrete and doable. 

Consider downloading habit change apps like, Habithub, Streaks, Productive, or Habitify. These apps are designed with evidence-based behavior change principles in mind, and can help you “shrink the change”.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.