Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Taking Health Care Into Our Own Hands

It’s inauguration day, the day many have been waiting for. We have a new president and most Americans have very high hopes. One of their hopes includes fixing our very broken health care system and improving the declining health of the American people. I, like many, have been active in the Obama home meetings to discuss this health care issue. Recently I hosted a neighborhood gathering to collect input for Senator Daschle’s health care initiative. There was overwhelming consensus on two things. First, all Americans should have the right to affordable, high quality health care. Secondly, all Americans should have access to things that would prevent them from getting sick in the first place like affordable fruits and vegetables, places to exercise, education on nutrition, smoking cessation classes, etc. But giving access to a healthy life doesn’t ensure that people will take advantage of it.

We have a mentality in this country that health comes from the pharmacy. We can eat fast food, be inactive, smoke and drink excessively and all we have to do when we get sick is see a doctor and take a pill. Some of the most serious diseases of our generation, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, can be avoided by exercise and diet. Even many cancers can be avoided. Yet, it seems to take too much sacrifice and time to shop, cook a healthy meal, go for a walk and encourage our family and friends to do the same.

If there was one message from Obama this morning, it was that the sad state of our country is our “collective” fault and we all have to be a part of the solution. With respect to health care, this begins by all of us taking responsibility for our health. We need to treat our bodies with care, feed them well, move them, give them sunshine and pure water and give them sufficient rest. If we all make a commitment today to do that, we will be helping President Obama improve the health of this nation. Continuing a lifestyle that promotes illness would choke any plans for universal health care.

I hope I can help you with this commitment with the nutritional information and recipes that I will continue to share. Let’s all celebrate this new day not only with hope for a better country but also with that of improving our own personal health and well being.

Happy Inauguration Day!

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