New Year, Healthier Habits
by, 01-06-2011 at 08:09 AM (7261 Views)
Have you noticed that every January we are bombarded with advertisements for exercise equipment and diet aids? As a nation, we engage in many unhealthy behaviors and struggle to modify our lifetstyle choices. Personallly, I find it alarming that obesity is expected to be our next major health battle. But as a nation, we are trying to improve. According to a Consumer Reports phone survey, 90% of American adults believe that they ate healthfully, despite data that suggests otherwise.
As health care costs continue to rise both employers and communities are taking more active steps in helping folks adopt healthier behaviors. Smoke free workplaces are not a new concept but recent trends indicate that employers are not only banning smoking on their grounds but declining to hire smokers. According to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health study, smoking costs the Commonwealth $6 billion each year in health care costs and lost productivity. The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio adopted this policy years ago while Memorial Hospitalin Tennessee and Anna Jaques Hospital in Massachusetts implemented their policies in 2010. The policy at ProMedica Health System in Ohio, will go into effect this month.
Taking this theme a step further, the community of Alberta Lea in Minnesota launched an initiative to improve the health of its residents. Incorporating innovate walking programs, healthy cooking courses, and seminars, residents were able to modify their behaviors and increase their lifespan by an average of 3.1 years. Now communities such as Hermosa and Redondo in California are adopting similar programs.
I am all for creating healthier communities and finding unique ways to engage restaurants, business, and government to support healthy habits ranging from easily accessible walking paths to healthy menu choices. As my first step, I resolve to walk more by parking at the back of the parking lot at the shopping mall and grocery store. After all, it is a new year and like everyone else, I am trying to adopt healthier habits.