Interesting Correlation: Fast Food Founders and Longevity

Jay Parkinson noted an interesting correlation between Fast Food Founders and Longevity:

- Ray Kroc (McDonald’s) died at age 82

- Jimmy Dean died at age 81

- Taco Bell founder Glen Bell died at 86

- Sonic founder Troy Smith died at 87

- Hardee’s founder Wilber Hardee died at 89

- Baskin-Robbins founder Irvine Robbins died at 90

- Carl’s Jr. founder Carl Karcher died at 90

- Frozen french fry mogul J.R. Simplot died at 99

- Murray Handwerker, credited with making Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs into a well-known national chain, died at 89

"Fake foods are more affordable. It's enticing people to eat more because they think they're saving money when they're really just buying heart disease." 10 Questions for Jillian Michaels. TIME, 2010.

Comments from Google Plus (Jul 27, 2011):

Maf Lewis - I'm going to guess that most of them were American, rich and therefor some of the few that could get good healthcare in the USA.

Neil Mehta - Good point +Maf Lewis
In addition they probably did not eat the fare their restaurants dished out?

Ves Dimov - I would assume they didn't eat the items on their restaurants' menu regularly.

One McDonald's CEO was famous for eating at least one product of its company daily. Unfortunately, he died at 44, from metastatic colon cancer. This does not prove causation, of course.

Mr Bell oversaw McDonald's "I'm lovin' it" advertising campaign and introduced successes such as McCafe.

Robert Silge - +Maf Lewis They clearly were both rich and American, and we could add male and white, but stating that they are among the "few" that could get good healthcare is grossly overstating it.

Maf Lewis - +Robert Silge As there are around 25%-30% uninsured Americans and another 20%-30% who have significant restrictions on their health insurance, I would say that Americans that get good healthcare (as compared to other countries of similar wealth per capita) would be in the minority - hence the few. Even if my figure are way off, the difference between health care of the top few % in the USA and the rest is enormous.

Robert Silge - +Maf Lewis Define "significant restrictions". Every system of organized healthcare has significant restrictions on how you can get healthcare. A complete lack of restrictions would be unfettered capitalism, where you can get whatever you want if you can pay for it.

Look at the literature. There is an association between socioeconomic status and longevity in any society. It is admittedly more pronounced in the US than in some countries. Some western countries are worse still.

Ves Dimov - Lifespan and social status: Why your boss will probably live longer than you

Maf Lewis - +Robert Silge - I agree it's hard to define and be accurate with some of these points, but for me significant restrictions would mean that you have a limit by the amount insurance will pay out for a specific illness, or pre-existing conditions, or other small print such as your activities are deemed dangerous sports (climbing on a roof to fix and ariel), or even having insurance investigators look into your case to see if there is a loophole that will enable them to not fund treatment- something I and my family came across first hand in my 6 years living in the USA.

I would confidently say that general healthcare in the USA is substandard to that of France, UK, Germany, Australia New Zealand etc, but for the top few % it is possibly the best in the world... actually it's best for the top few % in any country who can go anywhere in the world and get anything done...

The USA has the highest standard of living but one of the lowest life expectancies of the top 10 richest (per capita) countries.. why? Healthcare.

Maf Lewis - I absolutely agree about social status/health in all countries. I think it's just a bigger gap in the USA, as with educations, income, everything.

Robert Silge - Yes, it is bigger in the USA than in other countries. This article is horribly out of date (as in, it looks at WEST Germany), so take it for what it's worth, but the relationship between income and lifespan was least pronounced in Sweden and Norway, worst in the US and UK (and W. Germany, but let's ignore that all together).

Are there more uninsured and under-insured than I would like? Absolutely. But I think you're looking at this upside down. Our ability to take care of the bottom of our society is undeniably poor. But the middle elements of society get good care. And I'm not even saying that this is the way things ought to be. But it's the way things are, and to say a minority of patients get good healthcare is inaccurate to me. I would fundamentally disagree that FEW people in the US get "good healthcare".

Maf Lewis - Ok, all good points Robert. Maybe if I said that the average person in the USA doesn't get as good health care as the top 10 richest countries (per capita)?

Maybe I'm bias because of my direct experience with health care in the USA (6 years), Australia (1 year), UK (30 years), France (on and off 20 years). Always the USA was more limited and slower.

Robert Silge - Well you certainly have more direct experience than I, and no one can argue with that. I think it would be accurate to say that the highs are higher and the lows are lower in the US. That probably applies to a whole host of aspects of life here. For better or worse it's what we do.

Maf Lewis - True, but my direct experience could a series of both good and bag luck;) I'm sure there are horror and hero stories in all counties.

Yes I think the extreme highs and lows do apply to most things, and in a weird way it's both the worst and also the best of the USA.

Maf Lewis - Just to make it clear (if I hadn't already) it's not the health care professionals in the USA that are the problem here, but the insurance industry, and healthcare for profit in general.

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