Why Our Health Matters

This week, health care reform took center stage in the news.  While government leaders and political pundits debate the merits of the current legislation, we need to keep in mind that we need to take steps to promote and maintain our own health. 

Andrew Weil

In his book, Why Our Health Matters, Andrew Weil, M.D., Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, emphasizes that we need to invest in health promotion and prevention programs.  As a health educator, this is my role. 

Health promotion and prevention programs are not about saying what we can and cannot eat or what we must do to maintain our health; they’re about providing the information to help people make better choices.

Dr. Weil suggests that an Office of Health Education should be established within the Department of Education.  Similarly, he recommends a National Institute of Health and Healing.  This would put the focus on health and healing rather than on disease management.  A National Institute of Health and Healing would promote research on the body’s innate mechanisms for maintaining health, for repair, for regeneration – this is where health begins.

We need to concentrate more on health than on sickness; to increase the confidence of individuals that their bodies can heal themselves.

The body has a marvelous capacity to maintain and to restore health.  As we go through life it’s up to all of us to find ways to maintain and enhance that capacity.

Small incremental changes can make a big difference.  Whether through making healthier food choices, such as cutting back on saturated fats and refined food; increasing physical activity (please note the previous postings on my pedometer research); or participating in stress management techniques, we all have the capacity to improve the health of our families and ourselves.

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