May 23, 2013
Written by Joe Pisani
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 12:17
Every night at the dinner table after a long day of work, I’m forced to listen to my family discuss health care reform in excruciating detail.
It’s worse than talk radio, but at least I can turn that off. Sad to say, we often end the evening sputtering and stammering and insulting one another.
There are so many questions. Will we be covered? Won’t we be covered? Will there be too many patients and not enough doctors? Will I have to compete with 76 million other members of my generation to find a geriatric specialist in my senior years? Will I have to sell my home and cribbage board collection to pay medical bills?
I can think of better ways to spend dinner time. Actually, I’d prefer a spirited debate about the Yankees or the Obama plan to tax tires from China.
Health care reform has divided the nation and gotten everybody worked up over issues like a government insurance plan and the so-called “death panels” stalking aging Baby Boomers.
When it comes to health care, my personal philosophy can be summed up in three words: “Don’t get sick.” That may not sound particularly profound, especially for a guy whose sister is a doctor, but I believe prevention is an absolute necessity, particularly in a country where people don’t do anything to stay healthy and do everything to become unhealthy.
Preventive maintenance is crucial, and to stress its importance, the president recently appeared on the cover of Men’s Health magazine.
Unfortunately, Americans shun healthful living. They love soda, sweets, cigarettes, booze, saturated fat and sitting on their butts. All the insurance coverage in the world won’t solve that problem.
We need to exercise, take vitamins, stop smoking, avoid fast food, lose weight, eat fruits and vegetables, get off the couch, turn off the TV and meditate. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
In recent years, our national well-being has gone downhill, and the trend shows no signs of reversing.
A study published in the American Journal of Medicine concluded that over the past two decades, the percentage of Americans, age 40 to 74, who eat five servings of fruits and vegetables has dropped from 42 to 26 percent, while the obesity rate has jumped from 29 to 36 percent.
Even worse, the number of smokers has declined only one percent to 26 percent, and the number of Americans who exercise three times a week for 30 minutes has dropped almost 10 percent.
We’re moving backward.
When my father was growing up during the Depression on the East Side of Bridgeport, his diet consisted of homemade macaroni and gravy (pasta and sauce were for the rich people) with escarole, beans and lentils.
Years later, when he had money, he started to live the good life and constantly ate steak, pork chops, veal, more steak, hot dogs, pastrami and every other form of red meat known to carnivores. It was a far cry from the Depression years, and it ruined his health.
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