Walk With the Doc
Saturday, January 13th, 7:00 am


                   Lifestyle As Medicine

         Over the ages, humans have been
challenged to adapt to advances in technology.  
The Stone Age, Bronze Age, Nuclear Age, and
Industrial Age each brought unique challenges.  
Perhaps these periods are called ages because it
took ages to assimilate them.  With over 2.5 million
years to sort it out, Stone Age technology seems to
be something we have worked through. Adapting to
the Industrial Age has the look of a work in
progress.  Similarly, the effects of multiple evolving
technologies on health are also a work in progress.  
With luck we will get through today’s evolving
technologies in less time than it took to get the
Stone Age resolved.

         Today’s evolving technologies challenge us
with uncountable labor saving devices that
encourage sedentary behavior.  Tempting low
quality foods are in abundance from fast-food
restaurants, vending machines, and grocery stores
featuring over 50,000 different products.  
Unfortunately, most of these foods are processed
beyond recognition from refined sugar, refined
grains, and refined oils with dismally few complex
micronutrients surviving.  Just when we didn’t need
more temptation, there is now talk of pizza delivery
by drones.  The excess weight in most children and
adults suggests that faster food isn’t the answer.  Of
course, food and exercise are not the only issues.  
Add in the stress of adapting to changes in the
workplace, sleep pattern changes, and
communicable diseases from the global community.
Added up, we have an environment that creates
historic levels of chronic disease, lowers the quality
of life, and each year drives healthcare cost ever
higher.  

         A few statistics bring into focus the effects of
not understanding how to use our new technologies
wisely.

     • Heart disease, cancer, and stroke account for
more than half of all deaths each year.

     • 130 million suffer from chronic diseases

     • 86% of healthcare cost is attributable to
chronic diseases resulting from poor diet and
insufficient exercise

     • 70 Million people have hypertension (high
blood pressure)

     • 100 million are projected to have diabetes by
2050

     • 70% are overweight

          While the national debate focuses on the
cost of healthcare and insurance in particular, the
root cause of escalating cost is a society that is
physically inactive and eats the wrong kinds of
food.  It doesn’t help that Government subsidies the
foods most responsible for the problem nor does it
help that advances in food science make foods
more desirable and addictive.  To a lesser degree
workplace safety, smoking, alcohol, drugs, and
automobile accidents factor into the overall cost of
healthcare.

         Fortunately, there is a consensus for
healthcare solutions arising from the din of
confusion and fake news.  My goal is to help you
hear this message of health over the voices
promoting self interest.  The good news is that you
can look forward to the advantages of both lifestyle
medicines from wisdom of the ages and the best of
evidence based medical technology.  Despite the
gloomy forecast, humans have a history of facing
challenges with creativity. Knowledge is the key that
opens the door to solutions.

         As individuals, families and as a country our
choice is clear.  Either we learn and educate
ourselves and others about the fundamentals of
how to live healthier or the next generation inherits a
world where chronic disease, lower quality of life,
and premature death increasingly become the norm.

         There is a better way. That belief is what
motivates me to share messages like this in hope
they will serve as sustaining reminders.  Granted, it’
s confusing when experts seem to offer different
advice.  Fortunately, the evolving common
understanding from dedicated researchers is
usually quite similar differing only on minor points.  
Sadly, this perspective is rarely communicated
accurately in the popular press.  From decades of
research, the evidence points to six core principles
for healthy living that can add years and quality of
life to those years.

     • Principle 1 – A good diet exerts positive effects
on the body and reduces the risk of chronic
diseases.  We need a diet comprised mostly of
minimally processed foods that are predominantly
from plants and in balanced combinations.

     • Principle 2 – We need routine physical activity
at moderate intensity.  Physical activity helps us
manage weight, reduced inflammation, enhanced
immune function, and reduced cancer risk.  

     • Principle 3 – We need to avoid toxins,
particularly tobacco, drugs and excess alcohol

     • Principle 4 – We need meaningful, supportive
relationships and strong social bonds. Those with
strong caring relationships are less vulnerable to
chronic disease and death.

     • Principle 5 – We need sleep that is adequate
in quality and quantity.  The quality and quantity of
sleep has strong effects on our immunology,
neurology, and mental well being.
     
     • Principle 6 –Undue stress can contribute to
hormonal imbalances and inflammation that
propagates cancer. Good health depends on
reducing psychological stress.  

         At some point, the national healthcare debate
needs to change from how to provide insurance to
pay for more healthcare providers and facilities to
root causes.  Unfortunately, focusing on supplying
more care delivery for an ever expanding demand is
no better than looking to more fire fighters and fire
stations as the best way of reducing house fires.  
What minimizes house fires is building codes, use of
fire resistant materials, education, smoke alarms,
etc.  Like fire fighters, the supply of doctors is part
of the solution not the root cause of the problem.  

         To learn more about what has caused poor
health in our country and what can be done about it
read the article “
Want to Fix America’s Health Care?
First, Focus on Food.”

         You don’t have to wait for the Government to
solve the healthcare dilemmas in our country. For
more about what you can do for yourself, I
encourage watching the video “
How Not to Die: The
Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, & Reversing
Our Top 15 Killers” by Dr. Michael Greger.

         Almost forgot to mention, taking a walk is a
great way get exercise. Why not join me for an
invigorating way to begin Saturday?  Even better,
bring along your special furry friends. They also
need exercise.

         Nancy Neighbors, MD


                  
                   Let’s take a walk

           Date:
Saturday, January 13th

  Location: Jones Family Park (see map)

Time: 7:00 am (Meet in front of Yogurt Mt.)

Yogurt Mt. is the last store at the end of Valley Bend
Shopping Center).  If cloudy, bring an umbrella, we walk
come rain or shine.  


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