Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Here's to your health

Young or old, wealthy or not, one thing we have in common is the need to tend to our health. With the ongoing concern of the seasonal and H1N1 flu strains, it seems that I see more articles regarding well being than before.

This report is now examining the effects of low levels of Vitamin D on the heart. The vitamin is easily absorbed through exposure to sunlight (being outdoors), but is now prevalent in northern exposures. Could our late 20th century lifestyle change have something to do with this? After all, we now get our exercise inside a club instead of going for a walk through the neighborhood.

A friend was concerned and afraid due to the new recommendations for frequency of mammograms. It seems that the report she heard did not stess that the increased time span between exams was recommended for women with little to no risk ractors. Her family history deems her a candidate for more frequent exams. I wonder how many women did not understand this, expecially those without a "regular" doctor, or health insurance.

Health insurance, itself, is a dividing factor now. I avoid the subject in discussions, as people are either strongly for or equally opposed to the current bill before the Senate. I can see the benefits and downfalls of either scenario. Many companies are looking at significant increases in premiums for the next year, which may be partially passed on to the employee. Would universal coverage be better?

We have made significant advances in medicine and smoking has been reduced however now we face the impact of obesity, which may become the prevalent "disease" of the early 21st century. As an unintended effect of the post-WWII economy whereas we have an easier life than our parents and grandparents, and women now work outside the home (usually sitting as a desk), the increase in weight goes with that "plush" lifestyle. And in many places it is unsafe for our children to play outside, which is leading to epidemic numbers of overweight and unhealthy young folks.

Since we have not been able to fix this on our own, perhaps it is time for the government to step in. But where to start? With healthcare coverage, taxing vices such as soft drinks and junk food, increasing premiums for the overweight? It doesn't seem possible that our society has come to this. Having lived through the journey that brought us to this point, I shake my head. Who was it that said "hindsight is 20-20"....

What are your thoughts?


My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

I know..a fire pit..can you believe it? That's how it goes.....

Isn't berries and cream pretty?

Health care...swine flu and all of it...I'm confused.....

More later,

MyStory of HiStory said...

Wow - there's a lot here. If I start commenting you'll be like..."Is she EVER going to stop??!!" :)

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi MyStory,
Feel free to speak up! I'm hoping someone can shed some insight!

Scattering Lupines said...

Mmmm. Yes, I've noticed Hand Sanitizer stations set up in all the public areas in Charlotte. They're at the gym, the library, schools, church, etc. Nice effort on the city's part!

I'm with you on the health care: I see each argument as equally understandable. I am not exactly for it, but I completely understand why so many people are. Which leads me to take the opinion that, if it passes, a lot of Good will come of it and a lot of problems will come of it, just like most things :)

I feel like government regulation has it's place in this issue. Insurancce companies certainly need to be more regulated. Too many people are scared silly about losing coverage and keeping jobs they hate to keep coverage, such as my friend who has MS at age 25.

But I also feel like President Obama's current policy gives government too much weight in the issue. I think a more moderate approach initially would be best, rather than a thorough overhall. I don't think our country is ready in terms of resources AND in terms of theory and attitude for what his administration is proposing.

The health piece. Oh, the health piece. I feel like the nurtitional supplement industry should be more regulated, for one. Many people have great intentions to take the vitamins they need, yet half of them don't even dissolve in the correct organs in order for the body to use the nutrients efficiently. They just "pass on through".

Soft drinks and candy bars can be taxed 100% in my opinion. We don't NEED them. And we would feel so much better without them. They should be a "treat" not a daily item.

I heard someone say once that she follows this rule of thumb: I eat what my body needs 90% of the time and I go out and have fun the other 10%. I have been trying to live by that.

I also feel that so many habits are formed early. I drink water all day long, with one cup of coffee in the morning and the occasional cup of hot tea, BECAUSE my health teacher in junior high school stressed and stressed the importance of making water-drinking a habit. That's where I learned it.

Maybe it's because I am a teacher and love education, but I feel like so much could be done to help our future culture and society by TEACHING, and INSTILLING our school-aged children with the habits they need to develop with CONSISTENT nation-wide programs than focus on health, good habits, and kind, generous behaviors and attitudes. Many schools and classrooms are doing that, but many others are not. I think it should be required as much as math! Parent health education programs should me made available through the schools, too.

The only regulation I see as necessary is moderate regulation on some insurance providers, improved government-funded health care for individuals who can pass a drug test, and comprehensive state rehabilitation programs for those who don't (if I can be drug tested for my job to EARN the money to pay taxes to support a health care plan, then the recipients of that plan can be legitimately tested in order to receive the coverage), and more regulated focus on programs to teach school children about forming good health habits.

One last thing, (can you tell I think about this a lot!?!!?) One problem with health is that McDOnald's is cheaper than organic fruits. Many lower class individuals choose based on what they can afford, which leads to increased health issues. So, maybe we could do something about lowering prices on healthier items and environmentally safe items. Healthy items usually ARE the most expensive :)

Did that make ANY sense? Very long! But, this is part of WHY I am into Shaklee now. I want to promote HEALTH! So many medical visits and antibiotics could be avoided with the RIGHT supplementation and habits.

Great post! I hope someone else gets long-winded to make me feel better about my ESSAY!

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi Lupines,
Excellent comments! I think you are vocalizing the frustration that most Americans are feeling. And you have some great points.

Re: gov’t health coverage – agreed. Gov’t needs to take a look at the insurance companies. So many people lost their health insurance when they lost their job. Due to a longer life span we now have more seniors than ever before who need health care, and that number will grow with us “boomers”.

Re: teaching good health habits in schools. Yup.

Re: Fast food vs. healthy food – Yes, this is true! The city where I live has a lower income population. Fast food restaurants abound. The grocery store has a larger potato chip and soda aisle than the fruit/veggie/fish departments combined.

Re: supplements: I take them and would like the industry to be regulated to protect me. (Side note: A very close friend worked at one supplement company with poor QA controls. It was common for products to be mispackaged/mislabeled. They found work elsewhere very quickly.) By the by – Shaklee is very reputable. I understand they are a great company.

It sounds like you are the teacher we would all want for our children! Dedicated and thought-provoking. Thank you for such an inspiring response! You have given me much to think about. Hmm, maybe I should have timed this before our local elections???

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Glad to hear you have taken a peak into the Christmas too....


MyStory of HiStory said...

Ok Lupine & Farmgal - you talked me into talking here :) We had a b-day party at my end last night - so sorry for the delay. I'll share some.. but the readers digest version would be: An ounce of common sense is worth a pound of cure, Too much of anything is TOO MUCH so it's not good for you! - & good personal(!) choices among many options are critical to quality health care.

** Nice essay Lupine!..ever think of running for public office!?

** Hand Sanitizer...(actually have a draft post about this topic) I think we're WAaaaay over the top here...addicted to it & becoming obsesssive compulsive out of fear/paranoia/germaphobia & as we try to solve one problem "this way" we're probably creating others.

** As with most health care issues (obesity, high blood pressure, preventative screening tests, etc. - Do we really need the govt to tell us WHEN to get tested? If you have a history common sense says to get tested earlier

- my own body is much more effective at telling me how much is too much than the government ever will be.

** National Health Care ...

- There's no such thing as free health care.
- We MUST keep a private option that is encouraged(!) & not penalized to promote competition & motivation for further research & state of the art technology.

- Part of "the system" is broken (welfare!) so work on that ... but overall we have some of the best healthcare in the world & the most personal choices in that regard. I do not want the government making such personal decisions for me.

When Monopoly/Healthcare/Govt are one & the same I just find that to be very scary.

I could go on & on...

KUDOS on a very thought/passion provoking post Farmgal!! :)

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi MyStory,

You have some very valid points! Especially about common sense. But how many people have common sense these days? Our grandparents knew that they couldn't live on cakes and pies - they grew vegetables. Now some parents consider pop tarts as legitimate breakfast food for their children, and then put twinkies in their lunchbags....

I think you've brought up one of the most important points; competition to encourage research and improved technology. Without income/funding, we will not advance in healthcare. Whether it be for vaccines or new diagnostic equipment in the O.R., we have come a long way since Doc Sawbones on the prarie.

Many thanks to all. These comments show that there is so much more that we need to consider, and so much more that we need to a nation and as individuals, because part of the responsibility belongs to us.

Best wishes!

Scattering Lupines said...

Great conclusion Farmgal! I enjoyed this little conversation :)

MyStory of HiStory said...

I enjoyed it too! :)