June 12, 2006
Health care is a political
issue -- heath is not that simple.
"I'm pretty adamant
that the government shouldn't tell people what they can and cannot
do. But the government should encourage good behavior. ... Most
politicians talk about health care, which focuses on how we get
and spend money on disease. It is the wrong question. What we need
to be talking about is how do we create a healthier culture. We
cannot spend our way out of this." [Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee]
While "the government"
may not be able to legislate healthy living, those in government
can "lead by example."
"After growing up
in the Deep South, Gov. Haley Barbour [of Mississippi] is no stranger
to fried chicken, syrupy candied yams and crumbly buttermilk cornbread.
But Barbour, who often takes good-natured ribbing about his ample
frame, is concerned about his state's growing reputation as one
of the fattest, unhealthiest states in America. On Thursday [June
15, 2006], Barbour will be host of the Healthy Mississippi Summit,
where state and national experts will discuss ways to promote nutrition
and an active lifestyle. ... And taking a cue from Arkansas Gov.
Mike Huckabee - who lost 110 pounds to improve his health, after
starting at 290 - Barbour says he'll lead by example."
Governor Barbour grew
up surrounded by people who ate in a certain way. He has now chosen
to follow a different example.
"As my doctor told
me [Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee], this is not rocket science. If
you burn more than you consume, the weight will come off. ... For
the first time in my life, I started exercising. It's something
I've never done. I've run from it. Hated it. So that was a very
different lifestyle for me. For a Southern boy like me, growing
up in the Deep South, deep fried, I gave up fried foods, sugar,
a lot of processed foods. But I find now that I don't miss them
at all. I feel better than I ever felt in my life."
Chances are, you are not
the governor of a state. You may not live in Mississippi or Arkansas.
You may never have heard of either of these two governors. So, what
does all this have to do with you?
to teach children the importance of sun protection at an early age.
Parents should lead by example and teach their children to incorporate
sun safety into their daily routine. ..."
You may not be a parent,
but children are not just following the examples of their own parents.
Are you an older sibling, babysitter, aunt, uncle, teacher, camp
counselor, youth leader, or member of the health care community?
"The World Health
Organization (WHO) is encouraging health professionals to be proactive
in minimizing the problems caused by tobacco addiction, consumption
and exposure to tobacco smoke. ... 'Tobacco continues to be a leading
global killer, with nearly five million deaths a year', notes Dr
LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General, 'The health community plays
a key role in the global effort to fight this epidemic. Health professionals
are on the frontline. They need the skills to help people stop smoking,
and they need to lead by example, and quit tobacco use themselves.'"
Even those who don't think
that anyone is looking to them as an example "are likely to
obtain health benefits themselves..."
"A Lancet study found
adults who had been avid TV watchers as children were more likely
be overweight, to smoke and to have high cholesterol. Researchers
from the University of Otago, New Zealand, said parents should 'lead
by example' and turn the TV off. ... Dr Hancox ... said that it
may be difficult for some parents to impose such a regime and would
need a lot of support and encouragement. But he added: 'Adults are
likely to obtain health benefits themselves if they lead by example
and turn off the television.'"
Whether or not it was
a conscious decision, you looked to others and learned "health
habits" from somewhere as you were growing up. Even now, whenever
you make decisions about how you are going to spend your time (or
even have a meal) with a group of friends or family members, you
influence each other in some way.
Questions of the Week:
In what ways did the role models you had as a child help you develop
a healthy lifestlye as a teen and/ or an adult? In what ways did
these examples help you develop unhealthy patterns? In what ways
do your peers, friends, and family members influence you now? Do
you think that all those who helped you develop your patterns knew
that you were looking to them as role models? Now that you are older,
what can you do to replace some of the unhealthy habits with healthy
ones? Who might be learning their health habits (good and/ or bad)
from you? In what ways can you improve your own health -- and encourage
those around you to improve theirs -- as you lead by example?
Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.
I look forward to reading
what you have to say.
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum