An article in the June 2009 issue of The American Journal of Medicine is certainly appropriate in today's discussion about health care.
Lifestyle choices are associated with cardiovascular disease and mortality. The purpose of this study was to compare adherence to healthy lifestyle habits in adults between 1988 and 2006.
Analysis of adherence to 5 healthy lifestyle trends (≥5 fruits and vegetables/day, regular exercise >12 times/month, maintaining healthy weight [body mass index 18.5-29.9 kg/m2], moderate alcohol consumption [up to 1 drink/day for women, 2/day for men] and not smoking) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988-1994 were compared with results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2006 among adults aged 40-74 years.
Over the last 18 years, obesity has increased from 28% to 36%; regular physical activity has decreased from 53% to 43%; and eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day has decreased from 42% to 26% among adults aged 40-74 years.
Adherence to all 5 healthy habits has gone from 15% to 8% (P <.05).
Adherence to healthy habits is no more likely in people with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, or hypercholesterolemia.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
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I think personal responsibility or lack of goes way beyond health care issues. That has been, at least in my mind, a major source of problems in the financial and mortgage markets as well.
It always astounds me at the numbers of people who will spend hours and weeks evaluating the choices available for a flat screen tv, and yet those same people will hand over any and all financial decisions to others while claiming that they do not have the time nor the smarts to understand.
And while this does not totally forgive those who take advantage of the less knowledgeable, a bit more caveat emptor could go a long ways towards rectifying a number of this great country's current ills.
How can we not be influenced by the super sized deal offered to us at fast foods eateries; over sized plates (platters) are served in favorite restaurants with 10oz filets (a roast) or an entree with fries falling off the edges. The shopping carts are larger and filled with pre packaged oversized snacks or prepared foods (full of sodium and fat) that we reheat and call dinner. Those of us in the 8% group have our eyes open to these lifestyle choices. As relatives in Boise would say, this is a first world problem.
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