• Important information. I would add a #4: Financial savings. Think of how much money you will save. No smoking equals more money. Eating out less equals more money. Exercising and becoming healthier may reduce or eliminate the amount you spend prescription medication.

    From Nicki
    October 12, 2009

  • Great tip – and we all know that saving money is high on everyone’s priority list these days!

    From Cheney
    October 13, 2009

Tip the scale in the ‘Wright’ direction

Obesity, Smoking, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer … Which enemy is our most formidable one?  All practical guesses, but in reality the number one public health enemy happens to be ourselves.  Crazy, right?

According to Bob Wright, long time Director of Health Education here at Hilton Head Health; it is not crazy in the least bit.  We have to understand that the impact of our own behaviors is the supreme enemy affecting our health.  Almost all conditions or diseases, even cancers can be accurately linked to our lifestyles and the choices we decide on! 

In Bob’s lecture, “Public Health Enemy #1” he emphasizes a relationship between our good behaviors and bad behaviors, and how this relationship resembles a balance scale. Our job is to tip this balance scale in the right direction.

By gradually making moderate changes in our lifestyles, we can and will tip this scale in the right direction. Moving the scale will not only decrease our risks of other public health enemies, yet it will improve our overall health. So when it comes to public health enemy number one; which way is your scale leaning?

We may be able recognize that our scale is not leaning in the right direction, but what can be done to change this behavior imbalance?  The key here is to remember that moderate changes in our behaviors go a long way.  What’s more, we need to start making these changes before we get sick or develop an unfortunate condition. 

As a majority, we tend to think of our health only when something goes wrong.  NOW is the time to stop beating around the bush and to throw out any excuses; we are in fact the ultimate controller and our own enemy. 

Thus, provided below are three straightforward changes gathered from the H3 lecture, “Public Health Enemy #1” that are directly related to reducing your risk of heart disease, but in effect pay dividends to other areas of your health.

1. Stay Active

–  Sedentary people who start exercise reduce the risk of heart disease 40 – 50% .

–  Contributes positively to warding off type II diabetes, stroke, respiratory ailments and cancer.

–  In a study by Natural News, the risk of dying from cancer increased 45% for men and 28% for women due to lack of physical activity.

–  Additionally, 20% of deaths of people 35 and older were attributed to lack of physical activity.

2. Quit Smoking

–  Accounts for 20-40% of all heart disease deaths.

–  1 pack = 50 – 75 pounds of extra fat!

–  Smoking is linked to lung cancer, respiratory ailments, and heart disease.

3. Maintain or Lose Weight

–  As little as 5% of weight loss significantly reduces risk of heart disease.

–  In an article written by WebMD’s Kathleen Zelman, interviewee David Katz MD, MPH of Yale’s Preventive Medicine Center states:  ”Lifestyle changes that include healthier diets, regular physical activity, and weight loss of 7%-10% have shown phenomenal health benefits that can be more effective than medications.” (Article is definitely worth checking out)

–  Weight loss can reverse or prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure, cholesterol, control triglyceride levels, and improve sleep apnea.


So there are the three most definite behavioral changes to start with.  Bear in mind, no matter how stacked you are in the right direction there is always room for improvements.  What’s more, we must have the drive and become geared up for change. 

I think Bob put’s it best:  “It’s not so much where you are, it’s where you’re moving.”  So let’s move already– in the Wright Direction.





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