Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fitness and Nutrition: How Does It Fit with Health Care?

I've been in various roles in health care for 23 years, starting in traditional nursing roles and quickly branching out from there. As I think about my current concentration on fitness and nutrition, I reflect on what role it has had in the last 2 decades. Obviously there have been great strides in fitness and athletics, increasing knowledge regarding nutrition and a truly healthy diet, and remarkable progress in multiple facets of health care. At the same time we've had controversy among sports, too many diet books, pills and quick fixes to count, rapid progress of processed food, and the snowballing impact of an ever increasing epidemic of obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Our country is currently in turmoil about how to fix the health care problems, the obesity rate has doubled (at least) and while we know more and more about how to eat we're still not doing it.

In the last few years since I started my own war against fat, lack of fitness and general aging, I have realized my desire is to help people (including myself) get healthy and stay healthy. One body, one life, one shot at it.

Where do fitness, nutrition and health care meet? Logically they should fit together like completing a puzzle, but they aren't. What are we going to do about it? Regardless of the outcome of the current health care debate and how it's approached, we're still not taking care of the core issue. Until we determine that we're going to fight the sedentary, unfit, unhealthy lifestyles we've created we're not going to solve the problem. The fiscal, moral and operational responsibilities will continue to shift from one group to another without ever triggering true change that solves the root problem. I don't have the answer to this current crisis and do not pretend that I do. Quite frankly, it seems frightening and overwhelmingly monumental.

We always must help the sick get well, and we must figure out the best way to do that. For those who can't get well we need to provide the best support and quality of life as possible. But we can no longer afford, on multiple levels, to not focus on helping every individual reach full potential of being well and staying well. It is in this way that I believe fitness and nutrition are a critical part of wellness, a too-often neglected part of health care.

When are we going to move from an illness model to a wellness model?

I can't let myself get so far into my own journey that I don't remember that many people don't know what a good source of protein is, or what a carb is, or how hours on the couch without activity can impact their weight and health, or how to start exercising, or what a true portion size should be, or that without exercise and activity they may be facing myriad disease processes later (or should I say way too early) in life.

I wish I had the answers. Right now I believe we must start with the youngest living generation. To do that, it means we must reach the parents and grandparents. So there it goes, feeling monumental again. Instead of feeling defeated, I do believe we can change the world, one bite at a time, one activity at a time, one choice at a time. It's going to take all of us and a lot of determination. We must educate ourselves, assist each other and make a difference. I want to be a part of helping the world get healthy and stay healthy, starting with my own circle of influence.

What do you think?


Greenteagirl said...

I agree it seems hopeless at times to try to get people to want to be active and healthy.

Unfortunately, until people realize that poisening our own people with genetically modified foods and pharmaceuticals isn't the way to make money, this will continue. Keeping people sick is BIG business in this country. Wouldn't it be great to get rich off of doing something good?

Imagine what would happen if everyone educated themselves on good food choices, exercised, and took care of themselves? I'll tell you what would happen. Contruction would be down because all those CVS Pharmacies and medical facilities wouldn't have to be built. Next pharmaceutical companies would crumble. Genetically modified seed companies out of business. People would only want and demand to eat quality food.

Reaching people one at a time and leading by example is one of the best things we can do.

Again, a very thought out, well put together post. Thanks.

ultrarunnergirl said...

Very insightful post! You really got down to the heart of the matter. All the pills in the world can't keep people healthy.

My totally sedentary best friend just did the Susan G. Komen 3-day Walk (without any training!) and you should hear her raving about the experience and planning the next one already. Once folks get moving, they tend to like it.

I think the best we can do is to try to help others within our respective lives discover the joy of movement. Lead by example, and realize this is how great change is made - one person at a time.

ultrarunnergirl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kelley Moore said...

Greenteagirl: You said it very well! That is so true about how illness is big business, and who all would go under if everyone was making healthier choices! Leading by example, you really nailed it there!

Kelley Moore said...

ultrarunnergirl: thanks so much for your comment. That is fantastic about your friend doing the walk. I am sure you have been a great influence on her, and now she will be influencing others too. Can't work better than that! It can have a domino effect as we reach out to those around us! I am hopeful!

Anna @ pathtofatloss said...

Hey Kelly, very motivational post you got right here. I do believe that healthy changes are done over time and while it may be confusing at the beginning stages, people actually learn to separate the facts from the hype as they practice healthy habits more often.

You are doing a great job with your blog. You have some very helpful and honest insights. Keep it up!

wesupportlee said...

Planning communities to include sidewalks and bike paths for safety would be a huge step forward.

Great post!

Kelley Moore said...

Anna, thanks so much for your comment! You are right that it takes some practice to sift through and figure out what is real and what is not. This is definitely a case where practice makes perfect. Thanks for your kind words about the blog. I'm having fun with it but more importantly I hope I'm helping people! Would like to make it easier for some folks than it has been for me!

Kelley Moore said...

wesupportlee: so true that bike and walking paths would help, and in every community. It would get us outside more, up and about doing something! I used to live in a neighborhood that really came to life at night, particularly in the summer after dinner. Lots of kids playing, families walking, riding bikes. It was great. I agree, that would be a huge step forward!