New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

June 20, 2013

Lori Brothers: Prioritize activities that lead to good health

NEW CASTLE — “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

That was a statement issued by the World Health Organization in 1948.

During that year, Harry Truman was named Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year.” The quote of the year was, “And now it’s time for a really big show” (pronounced “shoe”) by Ed Sullivan.

The Ford F-series truck was introduced. Scrabble was invented and was the most popular Christmas present that year. Bar codes also were invented this same year. (Aha, there’s the glitch that made the whole culture come unglued.)

Think about how our culture has changed since then. Women have become much more anchored in the workforce, eating fast foods for many is now a way of living, and sedentary lifestyle is also on the rise. I won’t go so far to say we are all living fast and tired, but doesn’t it sometimes feel that way?

Mark Twain observed, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.”

We’re told “eat this, not that,” on a regular basis. So if you’re paying attention, you may have a side of guilt with those fries. If guilt doesn’t get you, there’s a chance your simmering health issues might.

Obesity trends among U.S. adults were studied over a 20 year period to reveal staggering results. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defined obesity as approximately 30 pounds overweight.

In 1990, the adult U.S. population weighed in with approximately a 10 to 14 percent obesity rate. In 1999, that figure rose to approximately 20 to 24 percent. By 2008, statistics showed that well over 29 percent of the U.S. population was obese.

The figures vary from state to state. However, the stats show the alarming increase, and the disease rates that correspond. Studies also indicate that there was a 600 percent increase in diabetes between 1950 and 1993.

Dr. Dean Ornish’s Spectrum points out, “our genes did not change during this period, only our diet and lifestyle changed.”

So as we now download the next app onto our cell phones to help us keep track of our calories, or plot out our exercise routines, let’s stop to remember a simpler time.

Maybe eating a healthy snack while playing a board game, after taking an evening walk is the answer. Wait a minute what year are we living in? Can we get the kids away from their wi-fi?

So back to the World Health Organization which named physical, mental and social well-being as the definition of health.

If we choose to focus on good habits and wise choices, we can lick much of the disease and infirmity that is so prevalent in our culture today.

Does that mean fast food is out the window? (Just a little fast food pun for fun.)

I think not. It’s more about a shift in awareness.

Stephen Covey said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”  

So instead of eat this, not that, consider the maxim “eat more of this, less of that.”  And schedule time for a walk, social connection and getting enough rest. These have been proven priorities that steer away from disease and toward health.

Prioritizing can make you a part of a new trend in a new era. Because when we reflect on it, we have the opportunity to make the difference now that they may be looking back on in 20 years.

Be the difference. Our descendants will be proud — and healthier.

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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