The movement to change the way we think about our health is fast gaining momentum. With millions of people daily searching for the information they need on the Web, it’s clear that there is an explosion of interest in products and services dedicated to helping us better understand how to live our best life. The effort to get us to think about our health in new ways, and in order to encourage us to take a more active role in our own health, is powerful and unstoppable. The topic is everywhere in the media, from popular blogs to highly publicized television ads.
What we’ve been seeing is a shift toward a cultural and political awakening about what health means, and the idea that we are not doing enough to help keep our country’s leaders up to date with the latest science and technology. In our current health care system, every health statistic about the country shows a widening gap between the rich and poor. Yet, when it comes to basic knowledge of how to lead a healthy lifestyle, the wealthy continue to lead, while those of us who can’t afford good health care continue to lag behind.
Our media seems to pay little attention to the heart disease and diabetes statistics among the poor, while reporting that the wealthy have the lowest rates of these two diseases. Instead, the focus of news coverage has turned to asking the wealthiest Americans questions about their personal financial responsibilities for health, which usually centers on a generous number that everyone in this country knows is too high: forty percent.
What’s lacking in our current health care system is not only education and awareness about healthy living and exercise, but a focus on prevention. While it’s true that it’s important to stay healthy, it’s equally important to make sure that if you do get sick, you’re getting the health care you need and the treatment you deserve. A truly healthy culture will incorporate the best preventive medicine available and a commitment to putting it to work. As part of that culture, Americans need to demand more of ourselves by paying more attention to our health.