We all have at least a vague idea of how our lives should look like. Most goals we set for ourselves are short- or mid-term. A long-range game plan or grand design is much harder to follow. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a closer look at what’s in the cards for us from time to time.
While today’s world is a risky place and evokes many well-founded concerns, the experience of fear itself creates new risks that can affect a person’s health and well-being. In fact, the hazards of fretting over perceived threats may be more harmful than the actual risks themselves.
Like it or not, globalization has arrived on our dinner plates big time. The palates of today’s families are much more educated in terms of foreign foods and eating habits than ever before. All kinds of ethnic delicacies have become staples in households that were limited to locally grown basics just a generation ago.
When I was a child, doctors still made house calls. For those too young to understand what I’m even talking about, I have to explain that in those days a physician would actually come to your home, diagnose your medical condition while you were in your own bed, write a prescription, and dispense some advice on how to proceed with the cure. Family doctors were almost like friends and neighbors who knew everything about you, not just your medical history. They were also teachers. Whatever folks learned about medicine, this was their one and only source.
That diet and exercise are important pillars of good health is common knowledge, even among those who don’t necessarily follow suit. But when it comes to caring for their mental and emotional well-being, most people remain largely in the dark. According to the current U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, it is time to pay greater attention to the treatment of mental and emotional conditions, which he considers as crucial as all other forms of healthcare.
Do food manufacturers bear a responsibility for the global obesity crisis? Of course they do. So do restaurants that offer nutritionally poor fare and exorbitant portion sizes. But the decision to consume foods and drinks that cause waistlines to expand ever further still rests with the individual. So, from which end should we try to tackle the problem? Experts remain divided over the issue, despite of decades-long research on the true causes of excessive weight gain.
According to polls, most of us think of ourselves as healthy, despite the fact that the obesity crisis keeps growing and multiple diet- and lifestyle-related diseases continue to rise. While the exact causes for this ongoing epidemic are still in dispute, there is general consensus that they are best counteracted by health-promoting measures like diet, exercise and positive lifestyle changes. But regardless of the information available to all, a great deal of confusion persists about how to implement even the most basic recommendations for healthy living.