By Thomas Byrne, M.D.
Welcome to the new Hallmark Health Medical Associates (HHMA) blog. A lot is happening in healthcare and around the world – mergers, buyouts, insurance exchanges, ObamaCare, Ebola, the latest diets and exercise and, of course, your illnesses and health.
Our blog will be a place where you will find discussions on these and other topics. We will address topics that affect you and your loved ones.
What a better week to launch our new blog than during National Public Health Week, the first full week of April. The week draws special attention to, and helps strengthen our awareness of Public Health.
So, what is Public Health and why is it different from my health? The public is everyone – you, your friends and strangers in our community. Your health and public health are not that different.
To have public health we need to have personal health. To have public health we need everyone in the community to be as healthy as possible and to have access to care. But, public health isn’t just having access to care.
To keep the public healthy we need to give everyone access to:
- Clean water
- Clean streets
- A warm, dry, affordable place to live
- Safe neighborhoods and homes
- Affordable medications
- Affordable healthy foods
- Physical activity and more
Staying healthy isn’t just the job of those around you, like the government or schools. Staying healthy and contributing to a healthy public is everyone’s job.
Some easy tips that can help us all stay healthy:
- Wash our hands before eating
- Eat better
- Limit our fast food
- Increase physical activity
- Watch out for each other when we are out and around town
- Avoid drugs and limit the amount of alcohol we drink
You can make improvements one step at a time. Start with just one thing or even just one piece of one thing and work on that.
For example, suppose you eat at a fast food restaurant every day. If you commit to cutting out all fast food at once you are bound to fail. With just one slip many people feel overwhelmed and fall off the wagon.
Instead, break the challenge into smaller steps, and take one step at a time. Break the task into manageable and achievable steps.
Stop eating fast food on Mondays (or any day) and expect that you will occasionally face setbacks.
Accept the setbacks NOT as failure but rather affirmation of how hard it is and that one step back can be overcome by two steps forward.
Set a goal and reward yourself for reaching that goal. Skip fast food every Monday for two months and reward yourself with a download of an album from iTunes. The idea is that you can do this one step at a time. In the mantra of seven-step programs, take one day at a time.
The idea is that health is about more than just visiting the doctor Health is about taking care of ourselves and each other.