An ounce of prevention, Benjamin Franklin said, is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to our health, we could use many ounces of prevention. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease, just some of the health problems that plague us, eat up millions of American health care dollars, yet in many cases these costly and harmful conditions could be prevented. Kenneth Thorpe of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and Jonathan Lever of YMCA of the USA make that compelling point in their recent editorial on the Kaiser Family Foundation website.
Since many of our health woes are related to food, the topic makes me think of Washington Post columnist Jennifer LaRue Huget’s “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy” column, one of my favorites on food, nutrition and exercise. In one of her typically common-sense-approach posts, she contrasts the approach to eating that many Americans practice to that of Italians, who in general favor small cups of espresso over calorie-laden lattes, fist-sized pasta portions over all-you-can-eat, and kiddie cups of gelato to super-sized desserts.
What do you think are the most important steps we should take to prevent poor health? What barriers keep people from doing so?