Is an unhealthy lifestyle your responsibility or the health care system’s? Well, as an advocate for healthy lifestyles, I believe that each individual must take responsibility for their choices, actions and their overall health. That being said, this simply means that health is a matter of choice. When you are not healthy because of your consumption of fatty foods, high-sugar drinks, smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages (in excess) or not exercising regularly, you are contributing to your unhealthy lifestyle. With the freedom of choice comes the responsibility to choose wisely.
When you choose to turn your unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one, you reduce your chances of getting sick, you reduce your visits to the doctor and you get a much better chance of preventing future diseases. My equation for turning your unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one is:
(+CHOICES) + (+ACTIONS) = (+HEALTH)
To be successful… it must start with YOU.
Then, we must turn our attention to education. Education is the key to changing the thought patterns of the younger North American population from unhealthy lifestyle choices to healthy lifestyle choices and actions. General health is on a downward spiral and in order to stop it from getting worse, we must educate our children today so that they can attain a level of expertise in the care of their own health.
These suggestions may seem simple but did you know that only 3% of Americans maintain a healthy lifestyle? The research is published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine and the 4 criteria that define a healthy lifestyle are:
- Not smoking
- Healthy weight
- Eating healthy – minimum 5 vegetables and fruit per day
- Exercising 30 minutes, 5 times per week
So step up, take responsibility for your choices and those of your children and take appropriate action. Leading a healthy lifestyle should be the necessary expectation of a much larger percentage of our society. There are huge benefits to turning your unhealthy lifestyle to a healthier one such as increased life expectancy, reduced disease risk, reduced medical costs and improved quality of life.