Mandated and regulated health care is not the way to fix the health care system.
In our instant-gratification civilization, we’ve been led to believe that we can do whatever we want to our bodies and then turn around and use a medication or surgical procedure to fix them. This is erroneous thinking, and it’s very, very expensive for both individuals and the tax-paying population as a whole. Paying to “fix” our bodies after we’ve chosen to destroy them is not the most cost effective way of going about things.
If any real change in health care is going to happen, we need to address the root cause of health problems in the form of proactive disease prevention and nutrition education. This alone will save all of us more money than any tax-payer supported government plan.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the top leading causes of death in the United States include heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and influenza and pneumonia – many of these are preventable by following a good health and nutrition plan.
Even babies in the womb are at risk for becoming overweight (often the first step toward poor health) – and unfortunately, many mothers seem to either not be aware of those risks or choose not to care.
What used to be common sense for many of our ancestors is now considered an alternative lifestyle. Eating a diet that includes ample amounts of fruits, vegetables and nuts; getting enough sleep so that you don’t rely on caffeine and sugar to stay alert; and being physically active on a daily basis are foundations of good health.
There have been many studies done on the subject of nutrition as it correlates to health, and many people have written about it. I recently became familiar with the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, who studied primitive societies on five continents over the course of six years during the 1930s. The results of his studies were as you would expect: primitive societies maintained excellent health until the foods of modern civilization were introduced to them.
Across the country, people are starting to make good changes – schools are no longer offering soft drinks to students; a tax on soft drinks and other harmful foods is in discussion; and restaurant chains are cooking with healthier oils. But all of these things are done in vain if we do not take responsibility for our own health and the health of our families.
It is not the government’s responsibility to make us healthy (in fact, we’ve given them far too much responsibility as it stands, but that’s an entirely different subject of its own). It is not our employer’s job to make sure we live a healthy lifestyle. It is not the education system’s responsibility to keep our children healthy. A healthy lifestyle – a tried and true method to reducing health care costs – begins with choices at home.
Suggestions for making small changes now:
- Reduce consumption of soft drinks and other sugary beverages.
- Eliminate fast food.
- Pack your lunch – and I’m not talking about sodium-laden, pre-packaged frozen meals from the grocery store.
- Plan healthy meals and snacks in advance, then grocery shop accordingly to avoid last-minute take-out.
- Increase your physical activity – take a short walk, clean, play a game.
Here are some recommendations for additional reading/viewing about health and nutrition: