Personal Responsibility Is the Best Medicine
Bill Maher and I can agree on something: Americans are fat and lazy.
Yesterday on the Huffington Post, Maher posted an editorial, “New Rule: You Can’t Complain About Health Care Reform If You’re Not Willing to Reform Your Own Health.”
President Obama has identified all the problems with the health care system, but there’s one tiny issue he refuses to tackle, and that’s our actual health.
The best thing that a person can do to improve for his or her health is to abandon unhealthy habits. These are lifestyle changes that are simple and inexpensive. If a person quits smoking, he or she will even save money.
This week, the British Medical Journal published a study showing that men who stopped smoking and switched to a low-fat diet elongated their lives by an average of 10 years. The researchers followed 19,000 men, starting in the late 1960s. PLOS-Medicine published a similar study in 2008 that demonstrated a 14-year increase in longevity, not just 10, with four items only: non-smoking, daily exercise, eating vegetables and fruits, and weight control.
There is a farrago of other lifestyle changes that can positively affect a person’s longevity, such as flossing and moving to a rural area.
If Americans do not stop shirking personal responsibility for their own health, any effort at health care reform will be inefficacious.
But I suppose that it’s easier to blame fast food restaurants or the government.