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Cost of Health Now vs. Later

Feb 17, 2017


Jennifer Van Cott

I sat down with the dietitian and manager of the Nutrition Department from Sacred Heart Providence Hospital here in Spokane the other day - and we both found each other's experience working with individuals on nutrition quite astonishing. We couldn't understand why people sacrificed their health today for long-term health issues and costs in the future. She is on the medical side and frequently witnesses patients remitted after discharge for malnutrition - even though nurses, doctors, and registered dietitians send them away initially with resources & guides as to what they should be nourishing their bodies with as an outpatient. But, I was saddened to hear that in our current healthcare system, since she started working in it over 10 years ago, dietitians and other medical professionals just don't get the same time with patients as they used to. Their patient load is expected to be higher, therefore, they must move through their workload much faster. We miss out on the prevention care we need. What a shame.

So, it's up to you and it's up to me. And it's up to each of us to find the value in our health TODAY by creating small habits that build into the lifestyle we create - either healthy or not. Because, sadly, the healthcare system still has a long way to go before each moving part can work cohesively to balance our actual health-care. In the meantime, we must ask ourselves, why is it that we are OK spending thousands and thousands of dollars on diabetic medications, supplements, hospital visits, doctors, and more - however, we're not OK spending the extra few dollars, now, on a healthier, say, food choice?  Or why we're not OK spending the extra half hour cooking a meal, but we're OK grabbing the greasy fast food that is slowly lending towards the #1 reason for death - heart disease...

Finding the value in our personal healthcare habits is where it all starts. I remember talking to my uncle and he told me, "Jenny, if you don't have your health; if you wake up feeling horrible, you have nothing. Your day is wasted away". Knowing from experience, I know this is true. When I have been sick or have taken care of those who are ill or sick, the only thing on our minds are feeling better. As a personal way to get motivated, I like to think about these days when I just feel too lazy to go our for a run. I remind myself I have an able body and I feel great -particularly compared to when I've been sick and there is no way my body is able to get out for a run. If we can find the value in how it truly feels to be healthy, we should then be extremely motivated to adopt healthy habits.

These healthy habits can start small - from replacing one cup of coffee with one water bottle (this is my current habit I'm picking up!) to choosing a salad as an appetizer instead of the fried breadsticks. Making a list of five things you want to work on at the beginning of the month is a great place to start. The beginning of the week/month/year usually gives us the edge of feeling like we’ve got a fresh start. 


If the current healthcare system cannot yet manage prevention care for us (which it cannot), then we must learn and become aware of the things which can prevent certain health ailments. This starts with each little decision today. All of the small ones we make - from our fork to the way we spend time being active (or not) - I've said it before and continue to study and speak about the brilliant resources we have to incredibly reduce our risks of disease, illness, and sickness. Start with grabbing a pen and paper and writing down the vision you have of how you feel each day. What are you thinking? What are you doing? Who are you with? Where is your time spent? Now, what little things can you do (or change) each day to reach these goals? As Neil Armstrong would say...




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