We’ll get healthy when health is the easy choice

New Year’s resolutions be damned, we’ll get healthy when health is the easy choice.

Yet again this morning I heard on the CBS Morning Show a segment from medical correspondent, Dr. Jennier Ashton, listing how to stay younger. You know how, you’ve heard these rules a zillion times. Don’t smoke. Eat healthy foods in smaller portions. Exercise, both aerobic and weight training. Wear sunscreen. Get 7-9 hours sleep. Get 1,200 units of calcium for bone loss. 

OK, I listened to hear if anything was new. It wasn’t. Then I went to do my laundry and while shoving shirts in the washer thought, how am I supposed to follow these guidelines given my day? How are you supposed to follow these guidelines with your busy life? Is your boss making time for you to go to the gym? Is your cafeteria or ubiquitous corner deli, fast food place, family chain restaurant or airport kiosks offering more healthy choices than unhealthy ones? For the same price?

Can you enjoy peaceful slumber in these recessionary times? Can you sleep 8 hours if you’ve got little ones or a job you’re trying to hold onto? Can you even find 30 minutes to get outside to wear your sunscreen?

As I’m typing the same show is now doing a segment on “How to jumpstart your oops, missed it, either weight loss or exercise.” As if I had room in my tiny apartment for a treadmill. Or even the space to lie on the floor with dumbbells as they’re now showing. 

It amazes me, again and again, that we preach what we should be doing out of one side of our mouths and do nothing to create the infrastructure to support people doing it. Food manufacturers have powerful lobbies to keep making artificial food-like substances. The government continues to fund farmer’s over production of corn so high fructose corn syrup is in most things you eat, including the burger you can buy for a buck. No wonder people are chowing down at McDonalds and not on apples that also cost nearly a buck. So tell me, talking heads, what do you really expect people to do? 

Or is it because a big corporation owns the TV station, the newspaper, the magazines and profit rules what people say but not do.

Finland’s capital city, Helsinki, has a mysterious high population of type 1 diabetes – more people in Helsinki have type 1 than anywhere else – and they now have a growing epidemic of type 2s. What did Helsinki do? They redesigned the city to create more parks for free outdoor activity, they created more bike lanes and more walking paths. What are people doing? Playing outside (hopefully with their sunscreen on), biking and walking on a regular basis. 

Without the infrastructure to make it easy to make healthy choices, it takes enormous commitment and effort to stay healthy in America. It takes learning about the health quotient of different foods, being able to afford them and packing your own wherever you go. It takes waking up early or sacrificing time with your family to get those 30 minutes of exercise. 

I’m not saying it can’t be done. I do it. It’s important to me so I’ve worked it into my life as best I can. Don’t ask me how frustrated I am when I can’t find something healthy to eat at an airport. Thus the photos. I’m just saying when are we going to admit that we tell people what to do to stay healthy and do next to nothing to make it easy for us to do it. 

Oh wait, gotta go, NBC’s weight loss guru, Joy Bauer, is about to share her Slimdown program.

Happy New Year, Hurrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmpppppppphhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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