Unfortunately, maintaining good health isn’t that simple. Certainly your doctor is there to monitor your health and identify disease so that, if necessary, you can be treated appropriately. I believe that the motto of our health care system is “Heal the sick and relieve suffering.” And our medical system does a great job of diagnosing and treating a myriad of ailments. I personally spent years studying disease and I’m still often amazed at what medicine can now do.
The fact is, our health care system is better equipped to find out what is wrong with you than it is to ward off illness. Contrary to popular belief, the health care system is only responsbile for about 10 percent of your overall health. So if not the health care system, what does determine good health?
Heath care system = 10 percent of good health
Health behaviors = about 40 percent of good health
- Physical activity – and I’m just talking about leading an active lifestyle, not becoming a marathon runner!
- Eat at least five or more vegetables a day and fruits as snacks.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid heavy consumption of alcohol (five drinks in one sitting once a month).
- Avoid smoking (any amount on a daily basis).
- Preventable behaviors (unprotected sex, not wearing a seat belt while driving, not wearing a helmet while riding a bike, etc).
Socioeconomic factors = about 30 percent of good health (economic and emotional stress)
- Not graduating from high school.
- Being a single parent.
- Low income bracket.
- Living in a high-crime neighborhood.
- Charged with driving under the influence.
Physical environment = about 10 percent of good health
- Exposure to second-hand smoke.
- Exposure to high pollution.
- Sense of belonging to a supportive community.
Genetics = about 10 percent of good health
This is an area often asked about by my patients and an area of intense research by the government. Unfortunately, this is not the answer to most of our health-realted issues and we can influence our genes with our health behaviors. Just because you have a genetic trend, it does not mean that you cannot do anything.
The bottom line is you simply cannot delegate your good health to anyone else. Take responsibility for your own health today!