At 14, he was told he'd die by 40. Now he helps nourish other people's lives.

Michael Malcolm's doctor said he wouldn't live to 40.

He was 14 years old at the time.

Image via Upworthy/Cigna.


"When you're a kid and someone tells you you're gonna die before you're halfway through your life, it's ... I mean, there's nothing more dramatic than that," he recalled years later while still choking back the tears.

Malcolm's blood sugar and cholesterol were dangerously through the roof. It would take more than just a one-off diet to fix the problems, and if he waited any longer to act, it could already be too late.

Malcolm had to find a way to change his life for good — and along the way, he discovered his true passion, too. Watch his story below:

He was told he would only live until he was 40. So he took action.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, May 22, 2017

Malcolm's newfound love for nutrition saved his life. And now it's helping him inspire others, too.

Sure, he may have felt OK before the doctor brought attention to his health numbers. But thanks to that preventive screening, Malcolm was able to take control of his life before he got worse.

He started getting more physical activity and learned how to improve his eating habits in ways that were easy and enjoyable. He ultimately felt even better than he did before, and he didn't have to suffer through any awful health disaster to get there.

With a new lease on life, Malcolm began to share his passion. He taught his family how to prepare wholesome meals, which was as good for him as it was for them.

He also discovered an entrepreneurial streak within himself, investing time in health-conscious social projects ranging from sustainable agriculture for low-income families to aquaponic farming. He even helped to launch a healthy home-cooked meal service — self-described as "Uber for personal chefs" — through his university's start-up incubator. And now that his body's getting the right balance of nutrients, he's coming up with new ideas every day.

Image via Upworthy/Cigna.

That's the best thing about healthy habits like the ones that Malcolm learned.

They don't just help prevent disease; they brighten up your brain, and your life.

Studies have shown that malnutrition can lead to poor decision-making. Whether it's the stress of poverty or the mental strain of having to plan for a temporary diet, it can take up so much brain power that it directly affects your ability to function in other ways, too. It makes it that much harder to actually get the nourishment you need to operate to the best of your abilities.

So how can you avoid that downward spiral? You do what Malcolm did: Identify the issue before it becomes a problem and find a way to turn those healthy habits into a seamless, automatic part of your life. It's the only way to free up your mind to focus on the things that really matter.

Image via Upworthy/Cigna.

Now the only contagion that Malcolm has to worry about is his own infectious energy.

Good blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels have all been to shown to have direct chemical impacts on our happiness as well as our physical well-being. Without preventive screening, Malcolm wouldn't be where he is today — and with it, well, who knows where else the future might take him?

Learn more about how to take control of your health at Cigna.com/TakeControl.

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Women around the world are constantly bombarded by traditional and outdated societal expectations when it comes to how they live their lives: meet a man, get married, buy a home, have kids.

Many of these pressures often come from within their own families and friend circles, which can be a source of tension and disconnect in their lives.

Global skincare brand SK-II created a new campaign exploring these expectations from the perspective of four women in four different countries whose timelines vary dramatically from what their mothers, grandmothers, or close friends envision for them.

SK-II had Katie Couric meet with these women and their loved ones to discuss the evolving and controversial topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations.

SK-II

"What happens when dreams clash with expectations? We're all supposed to hit certain milestones: a degree, marriage, a family," Couric said before diving into conversation with the "young women who are defining their own lives while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most."

Maluca, a musician in New York, explains that she comes from an immigrant family, which comes with the expectation that she should live the "American Dream."

"You come here, go to school, you get married, buy a house, have kids," she said.

Her mother, who herself achieved the "American Dream" with hard work and dedication when she came to the United States, wants to see her daughter living a stable life.

"I'd love for her to be married and I'd love her to have a big wedding," she said.

Chun Xia, an award-winning Chinese actress who's outspoken about empowering other young women in China, said people question her marital status regularly.

"I'm always asked, 'Don't you want to get married? Don't you want to start a family and have kids like you should at your age?' But the truth is I really don't want to at this point. I am not ready yet," she said.

In South Korea, Nara, a queer-identifying artist, believes her generation should have a choice in everything they do, but her mother has a different plan in mind.

SK-II

"I just thought she would have a job and meet a man to get married in her early 30s," Nara's mom said.

But Nara hopes she can one day marry her girlfriend, even though it's currently illegal in her country.

Her mother, however, still envisions a different life for her daughter. "Deep in my heart, I hope she will change her mind one day," she said.

Maina, a 27-year-old Japanese woman, explains that in her home country, those who aren't married by the time they're 25 to 30, are often referred to as "unsold goods."

Her mom is worried about her daughter not being able to find a boyfriend because she isn't "conventional."

"I really want her to find the right man and get married, to be seen as marriage material," she said.

After interviewing the women and their families, Couric helped them explore a visual representation of their timelines, which showcased the paths each woman sees her life going in contrast with what her relatives envision.

SK-II

"For each young woman, two timelines were created. One represents the expectations. The other, their aspirations," Couric explained. "There's often a disconnect between dreams and expectations. But could seeing the difference lead to greater understanding?"

The women all explored their timelines, which included milestones like having "cute babies," going back to school, not being limited by age, and pursuing dreams.

By seeing their differences side-by-side, the women and their families were able to partake in more open dialogue regarding the expectations they each held.

One of the women's mom's realized her daughter was lucky to be born during a time when she has the freedom to make non-traditional choices.

SK-II

"It looks like she was born in the right time to be free and confident in what she wants to do," she said.

"There's a new generation of women writing their own rules, saying, 'we want to do things our way,' and that can be hard," Couric explained.

The video ends with the tagline: "Forge your own path and choose the life you want; Draw your own timeline."

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