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Achieving Optimal Health

The Martha Stewart Show, January 2008

It's a staggering statistic that seven out of 10 Americans who die each year die of a preventable chronic disease. Since 1871, it's been the role of the Surgeon General to educate America about how to best manage their health.

The Biggest Health Crises Facing America
-There are 9 million children in America who are overweight or obese.

-There are close to 60 million people who smoke. Tobacco-related illnesses are the No. 1 killer, claiming the lives of 435,000 people each year.

-The United States spends more per capita on health than any nation in the world, yet it is not the healthiest.

-Today's generation is the first generation of children who will live shorter lives than their parents.

-If the government spent less money on costs for preventable diseases, there would be more money for all of the uninsured people in the nation, and for anti-terrorism, education, etc.

How to Achieve Optimal Health and Wellness
-To start, pick a physical activity that you like to do and do it!

-Eliminate high-risk activities. Wear your seat belt, and do things that can reduce the cost of health care.

-There needs to be a cultural transformation. Community leaders such as rabbis, priests, teachers, and principals need to make a long-term commitment to health-literacy, and then spread the word. Knowledge about health risks is easily accessible, so we all need to take on the role of a leader if we can.

-The greatest predictor of health status in a community is socioeconomic status. People need access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and it has got to be safe to go outside.

-Work within your community to provide opportunity. Write to your assemblymen and demand a supermarket that provides fresh fruits and vegetables.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Dr. Richard Carmona, the 17th surgeon general of the United States, for sharing these statistics and health tips. Dr. Carmona is currently the vice chairman of Canyon Ranch. Special thanks to Canyon Ranch Lenox for giving our studio audience a three-night stay and a gift bag.

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