All too often, many of us tend to ignore our health until something goes wrong. By the time we experience negative symptoms, or are diagnosed with a disease, however, it may be quite difficult to get our bodies back to a state of optimal wellness.
It is for this reason that choosing to focus on proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices now gives us the best possible chance of avoiding disease, and many debilitating complications. When we feel healthy, we often don’t think twice about the foods we eat, the amount of exercise we get, or bad habits that we pursue.
Conventional health care providers are frequently of a similar mindset, telling patients not to worry if they feel fine, and giving only the minimal nutritional and lifestyle advice unless they are pressed.
However, many physicians have recently started to pay more attention to preventative measures, and even in some cases have joined forces with alternative nature-based practices. This may be due to the fact that many largely preventable conditions have become so rampant in this country.
In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released some scary statistics on the prevalence of chronic diseases in the US. The CDC defined chronic diseases as, “non-communicable illnesses that are prolonged in duration, do not resolve spontaneously, and are rarely cured completely. Examples of chronic diseases include heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis.”
The CDC’s statistics state that seven in ten yearly deaths in the US are caused by chronic diseases, and that close to one in two adults live with at least one chronic disease. Heart disease and stroke combined cause over 30 percent of deaths in the US each year, and one in three adults (as well as nearly one in five young people ages 6 to 19) are currently obese.
Despite these frightening stats, only 24 percent of adults and 20 percent of high school students in the US eat the minimum recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, over a third of US adults do not meet the minimum recommendations for aerobic physical activity set out by the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and only a third of high school students have daily physical education classes.
The CDC also states that over 75 percent of America’s health care costs result from chronic conditions. While the acceptance (albeit quite slow) of natural remedies and alternative health practices by Western medicine is encouraging, it is up to us to start our own nutrition and disease prevention strategies as soon as possible, whether or not our doctors actively recommend them.
No matter what health care system you subscribe to, great health starts from the choices you make at home.
-The Alternative Daily