Exercise is medicine. Jake “Body by Jake” Steinfeld writing for the Huffington Post offers three points of advice to help improve the health of the nation. His advice goes to the point that above and beyond anything else, our personal choices have the greatest impact on our health. More than doctor visits, cutting edge disease treatments or the latest medicine we have the greatest power to either stay healthy or get sick. We decide what food to eat. We decide whether or not to exercise, and we decide whether or not to smoke. Those are the big three and that’s where health care begins.
Michael Pollan, author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food puts it very well in his op-ed piece for the NY Times:
“But so far, food system reform has not figured in the national conversation about health care reform. And so the government is poised to go on encouraging America’s fast-food diet with its farm policies even as it takes on added responsibilities for covering the medical costs of that diet. To put it more bluntly, the government is putting itself in the uncomfortable position of subsidizing both the costs of treating Type 2 diabetes and the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup.”
So there it is. We’re using tax dollars to subsidize a food industry that poisons us, while at the same time we’re looking to send our tax dollars to treat the resulting illnesses. Might it make sense to cut food subsidies so that we then can reduce spending on health care? And to the point of personal responsibility, if through our own actions we can avoid illnesses such as diabetes altogether–and thus never treat them at all–then isn’t that the best version of health care available?
(BTW, if you haven’t read Pollan’s In Defense of Food then you should go get it right now and start reading. As well, he was interviewed by Bill Moyers interviewed Pollan a few months ago. Go to PBS to watch it.)
Politicians very rarely suggest that we bear the most responsibility for our health. To do so would point out that we as a nation are failing miserably at controlling ourselves.