The Future of Health is Personal–and Accessible to All

world health day

Everyone deserves to be healthy and have a body hearty enough and capable of achieving the goals they've set for themselves in life. Health, one can argue, is a human right and not something reserved for those with money, privilege, or status. Everyone can and should be empowered to generate their health and have access to information, services, and healthy resources.

The unfortunate health statistics

Too many people still suffer from a low quality of health throughout their lives. Globally, 30% of the global population cannot access essential health services.1 Life expectancy at birth in the United States dropped again in the past year, to 76.1 years, in a recent report from the CDC, to its lowest level since 1996.2 The disparity in life expectancy between the sexes grew from 5.7 to 5.9 years, with an expectancy of 79.1 years for women and 73.2 years for men.

The number one cause of death in the United States continues to be heart disease (695,547), and cancer a close second (605,213).3 The fight to conquer these chronic illnesses for those that suffer from them is a job that never ends. However, more and more research shows that issues like this can be held at bay by simply getting the proper nutrition your body needs to support its native health and immunity.

Health for all

The future of health relies on meeting the basic needs of humanity. Doing so will take great effort to address the countless inequities built into the current system. This includes genuinely addressing physical safety, mental well-being, access to clean air, fresh running, safe water, sanitation, clean sources of energy, and healthy, nutritious food.

A healthy future will ultimately focus on health promotion, preventive health care, and rehabilitative care as a new standard, not a privilege reserved for the few. It requires every man, woman, or child to have on-demand access to the information and tools to provide self-care and address common health challenges like aging differently.

The future is innovative

We are at a unique moment of progress and innovation. The future of health brings innovations beyond our traditional imagination. To get there, we must trust science and technology as a resource to serve humanity. This is a new and rare moment in history when scientific knowledge and technological advances in artificial intelligence/machine learning converge to support health in ways that were not possible before.

Existing technologies, including genomics, allow us to understand better the role of genomic technologies and precision health protocols to prevent and possibly even prevent nagging conditions from becoming health problems.

Digital technologies will continue to expand with more people accessing these tools, including healthcare workers. This will enable the latest information to reach people so that they can take better care of their health.

Artificial intelligence algorithms will help individuals, doctors, and healthcare workers make better decisions. We will have more solutions, treatment pathways, and even early detection solutions for non-communicable diseases like cancer.

New challenges in equity and ethics will arise

Equity, because history shows new technologies take time to reach people in low-income countries. A global commitment to ensure equitable access to health knowledge and preventative products that ultimately save lives is critical.

Ethics and the use of new scientific technologies are remarkable but often bring complexities and implications we have yet to consider as a society. Ideally, a healthy scientific debate will emerge among experts and scientists alike, leading to bioethics committees and generating a philosophy and code of ethics that serves all.

The more we embrace the process and train all citizens to participate and improve scientific and technological literacy globally, the more empowered we will all be to make healthier, informed choices that support and foster health today and tomorrow.

Scientific progress enables better health

It's widely known that the modern diet is unhealthy. Every day, we see new research findings and more innovative technology showing us the possible reasons why people everywhere are becoming steadily unhealthier.

As we move from a reactive approach to health to a preemptive approach, we shift from symptom-based methodologies to a more holistic approach focused on molecular science. A holistic systems biology approach to health looks at the body and incorporates advances in genomics, proteomics, and our emerging understanding of the microbiome.

New insights lead to applied solutions

As we embrace the body as an integrated system rather than focusing on one individual organ at a time, personalized insights and strategic protocols become possible.

We can now examine millions of microbes that call our bodies home, the "human microbiome," and how it integrates with the body's systems to help regulate, digest, send messages, and produce metabolites that are essential for good health.

The wide variety (and lower cost) of high-fat, high-sugar, and ultra-processed foods available today have significantly decreased the diversity of the gut, and microbiome of millions across the country. Low gut microbial diversity has been shown to affect cellular health, metabolic health, and cardiovascular and immune systems.

New understandings on how oral health, and the health of your oral microbiome, mirrors the health of your entire body is featured on every health information site worldwide. The latest research suggests that an unhealthy oral microbiome may impact your brain, heart, bone, and kidney health.

The "personalization" of health and nutrition

Health is personal. Becoming and staying healthy is an endeavor that should never be a "one size fits all" solution for anyone. Your nutrition, the food you eat, the nutrients you use to supplement what you can't get from your diet, and mindful, movement-oriented lifestyle habits are the key to optimizing the health of your body, mind, and soul.

Health is also dynamic. Your body changes daily, responding to the stimulus and demands of the day. Your nutrition and lifestyle habits ideally adjust to support your needs--physically, emotionally, and mentally. What you should feed your body, how much sleep you need, and even what types of exercise are ideal for you is uniquely individual and influences your health at a molecular level. This requires easily measuring your body's health and finding out what areas need more support and what is doing well.

Translating those measurements into what specific nutrients you need will boost the systems that need help and continue to support the areas that are doing well. This approach is notably a shift in focus from wait-and-see, late-stage care to embracing early detection as a norm. It moves us away from de-personalized health care to a more personalized approach to lifestyle and longevity.

Better health for everyone, everywhere

In the words of Arundhati Roy — “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” A healthier world is also possible, and solutions exist to enable people to live healthier lives. Building this world is a collaborative revolutionary act of courage and a new approach that empowers individuals to take their health into their own hands.

Now, alignment is needed as individuals and as a human collective to remove the barriers to accessing knowledge and insights, fresh water, and healthy foods knowledge on personal health and healthcare from the world at large. We must make it possible for all to choose a path for better health over paths that lead to disease and despair. We must unite to educate and empower people everywhere to take agency over their health–starting with how they eat and their lifestyle choices.


1 Key Messages: 75 Years of Improving Public Health. (n.d.). who.int/campaigns

2 Life Expectancy in the U.S. Dropped for the Second Year in a Row in 2021. (n.d.). cdc.gov

3 Deaths and Mortality. (n.d.). cdc.gov