Friday, May 16, 2008

What Does It Take?

I often wonder what it takes to get people to take responsibility for their own health. I view this as the first step before they'll even consider the world of hope called complementary and alternative medicine. I have to admit that in my case, it took running out of medical options, although I hope others are much smarter.

A recent report on cancer survivors following minimal recommendations has me shaking my head and wondering what it takes to get people involved in their own health. You'd think that surviving cancer would do it, wouldn't you? But you'd be wrong.

The American Cancer Society issued three fundamental recommendations in 2006 on healthy lifestyle behaviors: get at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-strenuous exercise, or an hour of strenuous physical activity every week; eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; and quit smoking. These are recommendations that every type of complementary and alternative therapy can agree on with mainstream medicine so that should give you an idea of how basic these suggestions are for maintaining good health.

Today we know that only 5% were meeting all three requirements. Pretty sad, isn't it? At the same time just over 12% were meeting none and fewer than 10% of cancer survivors of any of the six cancer types in the study were meeting two or more recommendations.

Once again I pose the question: What in the world does it take???

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