Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We Know Better

I saw a clip on the Today Show this morning that hit a very sensitive nerve with me. It was about the health of our nation. A recent study revealed that the health of Americans has not improved at all over the last 4 years. This makes no sense to me because we know better.

Back in the 1960's people were eating Crisco and chain-smoking while pregnant—but they were ignorant of the harm they were causing. Now, we know better.

We know that smoking is killing us. We know that it not only fills our bodies with carcinogens, but damages the bodies of people around us.

We know that eating fast food, processed food or too much food is not good for us. This way of living has not only caused 1 in 4 Americans to be obese or overweight, but impedes the health of people who are not yet overweight. Cheeseburgers and Big Gulps are not the kind of fuel we need in our bodies. And if we continue feeding ourselves like this and feeding our children like this, we are eventually going to be living in world of diabetic orphans.

We know that tanning causes skin cancer, yet we avoid using sunscreen and some of us still hit up tanning salons. I see no reason why tanning salons should keep their beds around. Switching everything to spray tan (which we could discover some day is also bad for you...) seems completely acceptable to me.

We know that we should jump on medical issues as soon as they arrive. Some of us may not have healthcare coverage at the moment...and that's a whole separate discussion. But for those of us who do have health insurance, we need to take the time to get checked out regularly. There are so many things our doctors can detect long before we're even aware of them. And if we've discovered a lump, a spot, a twitch that doesn't seem quite right, we need to trust our intuition and get it checked out.

We know better. And I wish we would start acting on that knowledge.

To see where your state ranks among the healthiest and unhealthiest in the U.S. check out this page.

13 comments:

Mermanda said...

Amen. The obesity in this country is absolutely sickening. It is truly an epidemic and I can't understand why people refuse to take better care of themselves.

brookem said...

I couldn't agree more with this.

New England always ranks pretty good in these things. I feel fortunate for that. MA is #5.

The Coconut Diaries said...

Texas is the 12th unhealthiest state? Considering I had a hamburger last night with fried bacon (bacon dipped in a batter and then FRIED!), I am shocked it's not higher.

Amy Turpin said...

I am not going to get on my soapbox - afterall, I am a dietitian and my response would be 100 pages long, but I TOTALLY agree!! I think part of the problem is that we are so worried about getting kids to pass standardized tests, and money for education has disappeared into some abyss, that we don't educate anyone about nutrition, health, exercise, etc. Not sure if it would really help, but it's worth a try.

justrun said...

You are absolutely right. And even in the healthiest of areas there are people ignoring their bodies.

laura said...

i agree...it is pathetic that obesity and overeating is out of control...but really...did you have to post this DURING the best eating and drinking month of the year...surely you could've held off on this one until New Years. now i feel a tad guilty for the wine and creme brulee I had at my work Christmas lunch today.

Mel Heth said...

Mermanda - It is so upsetting - especially when it's affecting children.

Brookem - Yeah, when I read the list, I kind of wanted to move. California must be somewhere in the middle - I didn't see it on healthiest or unhealthiest.

Coconut - Fried bacon dipped in batter? I bet that's really tasty... :)

Amy - It is completely frustrating that we don't educate people (from birth!) on the benefits of good nutrition. Sadly, though, even when we educated kids on drug use I don't think it caused the numbers to drop too much. I don't know what the answer is...

JustRun - I know. I find it baffling - life is so short - why would you want to make it shorter by not taking care of yourself?

Laura - Well, I had an In 'N' Out cheeseburger and a chocolate shake for lunch today, so apparently I'm a big fat hypocrite! Go ahead and eat your creme brulee and drink your wine - it's loaded with antioxidants.

Dingo said...

I'm taking care of my health these days. Just today I cut back. I ate only a half a bag of M&Ms instead of the whole thing.

geekhiker said...

Okay, maybe it's just the devil's advocate in me, but when you use the word "we", are you actually speaking behalf of 330 million people?

Still, I do agree with you in theory. At the same time, I can't help but point out that the average life expectancy in the US continues to rise every year...

Mel Heth said...

Dingo - If you switch to M&Ms dark, you can go back to eating the whole bag - you need all those dark chocolate antioxidants!

GH - You play devil's advocate? I'm shocked. Yes, I was speaking on behalf of 330 million when I said "we" know better. I think most people do. Even the dumb ones. We know better, but we choose to ignore our own good sense. And IS the life expectancy increasing every year still? I thought I had heard it leveled off.

[erin] said...

Does this mean that you no longer eat BRC burritos??

Hey Melissa, got an email from Angela today which sent me down CV memory lane...and to this bookmark which I do not visit enough. I am going to have to do some serious catch-up but wanted to drop a quick comment first. (BTW, El Pollo Loco is down the street from our home, just like the old days...)

Emily said...

Is it a bad sign that both times I've been reading this post I've been eating?

Wow, that was awkward said...

As I ate my toquitos and drank my corona, I was surprised that Colorado isn't in the list of healthiest states.