Currently viewing the tag: "healthy lifestyle behaviors"


moneyMost people believe that money is the answer to everything. There is even a joke that, “Money may not buy happiness, but it’s better to cry in a Lamborghini than on a bicycle.” Har har har…yeah, ‘cept it ain’t necessarily true. While surveys and studies can be found to support any position, a recent Money Magazine survey (Sept 2014) showed that “what makes retirees happiest,” isn’t money, but health. Yes health! Duh! And that is what this post is about: How having money may actually be a hindrance to good health. But not for you, because you read this blog, and you take the information, assimilate it and act accordingly. Right, read on:

Retirees Happiness (Copy)This post came to my attention while discussing my cousin’s employer with my mom. Turns out the employer is an elderly man who sits on the board of a major tech company. He’s financially loaded, and he also spends much of his non-working time visiting doctors. He is on a multitude of medications—for cholesterol, for high blood pressure, for bipolar, for sleep disturbances, and on and on. We know this because my cousin is this man’s personal assistant. As I listened to this story I couldn’t help but think how this man, so representative of the average American senior with regard to his health care, was on this polypharmacy path for one simple reason: He could afford to be.

Then it got me thinking about our new “universal health” system, which essentially promotes the lifestyle I have just described. Yes it does. The premise was that everybody deserves as much modern medicine as they need. Uh huh… Let this man’s story illustrate what we become when we rely on the medical industry to guide our health decisions.

seniors medsWait Campos! That’s unfair: We do not know this man’s particular circumstances. Okay, true, but we do know a few things. As of 2012, 65 percent  of American seniors were on three or more prescription drugs, 36.7 percent were on five or more prescription drugs. We also know that many conditions today, which receive a large proportion of annual prescriptions, are lifestyle related. Take last year’s (2013-2014) most prescribed medications for instance, four of ten were for conditions that can be significantly improved (or prevented) with the proper lifestyle modifications (and I would argue that three others could be avoided with “alternative” approaches, mostly paradigm shifts). Cholesterol lowering, heartburn, blood pressure lowering, and diabetes—all preventable AND fixable with proper lifestyle modifications.

But is that the road most westerners choose? No! For whatever reasons—be it looking for easy answers, rationalizing, or the shared doctor-patient belief that only meds are truly viable—the majority of Americans (and our European and now Asian counterparts) choose the polypharmacy route over caring for their health, and I am certain that is a disease of modern affluence. We run to medical care because we can! Yes it’s the easier answer to control our dysfunctions rather than correct them through lifestyle modifications. So much easier to take a pill then walk around the block every day, pump iron, lay off the sugar, and so forth. And we have been conditioned to believe that is the only way to do it. It doesn’t matter how much information comes out extolling healthy behaviors: The average westerner runs to his or her doctor for a medical fix first—that’s what the data shows.

Low Cost HealthI actually believe that the so-called have-nots are in a better position health-wise, as they can take their health into their own hands from an early age. What we do habitually is what matters most, and so focusing on healthy behaviors soon and often will not only be best for your current health, but also will train you to look to yourself when health challenges arise. Heck yes, medical care is necessary in many circumstances; but understand that our reliance on medicating fixable conditions is deeply ingrained into your psyche by years of observation and acceptance. Evidence of lifestyle modification improving conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol (if that’s even an accurate diagnosis as it is doled out today), high blood pressure and many gastrointestinal issues (like gastric reflux) abound. You do not have to be the victim of historical tradition—frankly it’s foolish.

Don’t let your ability to indulge in medical care be the definitive factor in how you approach your health. Use our incredible medical system for crisis care, and you take care of the lifestyle part. Believe me when I say that you can neither buy happiness nor health. I would venture to bet that my cousin’s employer would trade his wealth any day for a return of his health. Heck I guess he is in a way now anyhow. What a crazy world we live in.

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When it comes to healthy lifestyle behaviors, regular bodywork is right up there with good diet and exercise.  And in the realm of bodywork, nothing beats chiropractic for keeping people healthy and full functioning throughout their lifetime.

According to a 2000 wellness study,

Chiropractic patients ages 65 and older who were under chiropractic care for five or more years experienced 50 percent fewer medical provider visits than their comparable peers and spent only 31 percent of the national average for health care services.  The health habits of patients receiving maintenance care were better overall than the general population, including decreased use of cigarettes and decreased use of prescription drugs.

I hope Obamacare bureaucrats are paying attention.


Here’s a question: What medical treatment improves health? Chemotherapy? Heart bypass? Prozac? What? Feel free to answer below–all comments welcome. I really want to know, because if improving health is a goal of health care reform–and it certainly should be–then shouldn’t we define which aspect of today’s health care system is improving health?

Former Health and Human Services Secretary appointee, Tom Daschle had it right when he spoke of the importance of making “wellness cool”. But wellness comes from lifestyle behaviors, not medical procedures. If you’ve read my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, then you know where I place medical care on the health care spectrum–it’s for saving lives. And in saving lives, nothing beats American medicine.

But health giving? Yeah, what? One gentleman told me about his doctors visit where they found his thyroid to be under-functioning. “And that is medical prevention or wellness,” he said.

“What was prevented,” I asked.

“My thyroid becoming a problem.”

“But it’s already hypothyroid–that doesn’t change. The medicine or treatment prevents you from becoming lethargic. It’s saved your life–at least the quality, that is.”

I know that’s a tough point for people to accept, but it’s true. Antibiotics don’t kill bacteria; they simply poke holes in the cell walls of bacteria or stop their growth, and so they leave the bacteria susceptible to attack from the white blood cells of the immune system. Chemotherapy doesn’t bring the body back to health–it kills all the cells in the body, and the body must build itself back up through its own faculties.

Here’s the point: Nothing heals the body but the body itself. It can be helped along through medical procedures, but ultimately it must self-heal and self-regulate. The only way to nurture the body’s innate healing ability is through practicing healthy lifestyle habits.

With this in mind, how is providing universal health coverage going to “improve” the health of Americans? The only real way to improve the health of the masses is by teaching, encouraging and rewarding healthy behaviors. This doesn’t mean punishing business that provide junk–it’s everybody’s responsibility to know what’s healthy and what’s not. Instead, why doesn’t the government provide tax breaks for gym or yoga studio memberships? How about covering chiropractic and massage therapy in every health plan? Twelve a year–how ’bout it Obama? How about really making wellness cool. Or do we just have to hear the rhetoric, and see another law passed that helps the rich (insurance industry).

If what the President says is true, that a universal health plan should “place the American people’s interests above the special interests,” then shouldn’t it do more than just provide us with life-saving coverage. Shouldn’t we take the cool wellness concept to heart? It’s really the only way to bring health care costs down.

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