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The Mabley Archive The road to better health is simple, smooth, affordable.

Byline: Jack Mabley February 17, 1997 Glenview's own

The solution to the country's health care dilemma is so simple. So inexpensive. So easy. So effective.

It's in our hands ... and you know what's coming now. Take care of our bodies. Eat sensibly. Get rid of excess weight. Exercise. Don't smoke. Drink with moderation.

We can't yet do anything to prevent Alzheimer's. But AIDS could be wiped out with prevention measures.

If 40 million Americans stopped smoking, hospitals would lose a third of their business.

The problem here is that nobody makes money off good health. Fortunes are made off sick people by drug companies and insurance companies and stockholder-owned hospitals and medical equipment manufacturers.

Doctors do pretty well economically, if you consider $160,000-a-year average pay adequate.

I have not written a word that everybody doesn't know. So why don't we collectively get smart and get healthy and feel better and have more money in our pockets?

Mostly it's because there is no big money, no political power, to provide leadership for a national campaign for good health.

Billions are spent to convince Americans to buy beer and take cruises and buy automobiles, and especially, to buy aspirin and pain killers and drugs for heartburn and toe fungus.

It's so easy to be slothful. Food tastes good. A small alcoholic buzz lightens the day's burdens. It's a nuisance to walk to the train station, and anyway there isn't enough time.

After Joseph A. Califano Jr. finished his years as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, he wrote a book, "Radical Surgery."

Here is Califano's radical surgery: "The country needs to change fundamentally the way we think about health ... to scrap the idea that health care means mending the ill and the injured."

Califano would redirect health care dollars to research and prevention.

Campaign finance laws keep members of Congress in hock to health care interests who make their billions from sick people, not healthy people.

Most doctors tell their patients to control their weight, lay off the booze, get some exercise, and don't -- emphatically -- DO NOT SMOKE.

But the doctors' job is to heal, and they do it well.

So who's to provide the momentum for a national crusade to make us healthier?

There are lots of pockets of enlightenment. Health food addicts are on the right track. Health clubs are profitable and filled with body builders.

Most hospitals now have active good-health programs, which were pioneered more than 20 years ago by Rush North Shore Medical Center.

Some major companies recognize that healthier employees are more productive, and have aggressive programs. Some have exercise facilities and incentives for workers to stop smoking.

Most encouraging is the number of businesses that are smoke free.

Think of what could be accomplished if the money spent on TV commercials for toe fungus, heartburn, aspirin and pain controls was used on commercials for good health habits, for school lectures, demonstrations, athletes' endorsements.

I'm with the conservatives on keeping the federal government from getting more involved in our personal lives. But can the momentum and leadership and money for an effective national health campaign come from any other source?

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Author:Jack Mabley February 17, 1997 Glenview's own
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Aug 5, 2021
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