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Key to Affordable Health Care: Healthier Lifestyles
In some ways, this might sound like old news. The therapy is called taking care of yourself: not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
True, you'd have to be smoking something hallucinogenic to not understand that cigarettes are unhealthy. Take away cigarettes, and you take away lung cancer and a good deal of heart disease. Similarly, the mantra of eating right and exercising has been drilled into us. Pork rinds and videogame expertise does not a healthy body make.
What's new, though, is evidence of the cumulative protective effect provided by all four healthy factors. The research, published in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, involves over 23,000 Germans and is part of a larger, ongoing European study on lifestyle choices and disease.
Genetics do play some role in chronic disease.
For example, some people pack on extra pounds easily. Yet as the German study and other large studies are revealing, the obesity epidemic is mostly driven by lifestyle choices. The genetic predisposition, if any, is not the ease in gaining weight but the difficulty in losing it.
More certain is American's genetic predisposition to rely on liposuction, stomach stapling, angioplasty, bypass surgery, dialysis and lots and lots of prescription drugs to fight disease. But the key to affordable healthcare, according to these two studies, is to pay for disease prevention, not treatment."
I've been saying this for a while: Healthcare reform needs to include an emphasis on preventative medicine! What do you think?
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