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Ways You Can Challenge Yourself to Improve Global Health

Contact Author Richard Carmona, M.D., 17 Surgeon General of the United States
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At the 2017 Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) launched the Wellness Moonshot. Susie Ellis, GWI CEO and chairman, and Richard Carmona M.D., 17 Surgeon General of the United States, challenged the health and wellness leaders from over 46 countries to work together to create a “world free of preventable disease.” Over 600 Summit delegates, representing health and wellness across a sea of sectors including spa, fitness, mental wellness and mind-body, nutrition and workplace wellness took on this challenge.

Since most disease, and the corresponding economic burden, is preventable, the GWI’s call to action supports World Health Day and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) challenge to “advance health for all.” However, with all worldly communities differing in needs immersed within varying cultures and resources, we know that one size won’t fit all.

The Facts of the Matter

First, let’s look at a few of the alarming statistics that demonstrate why lifestyle related diseases and the continuously skyrocketing cost of healthcare are creating a global crisis, which affects all of us both physically and mentally.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the reality is that nearly 70% of all deaths each year are a result of preventable diseases.1 Meanwhile the World Economic Forum concluded that the global cost of largely preventable chronic disease could reach $47 trillion by 2030.2

Moreover, in 1990, about 40% of deaths from non-communicable diseases were in low- and middle-income countries, compared with about 75% today. This surge can be traced to four areas: tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, insufficient physical activity and unhealthy diet or obesity.3 These are only some of the facts, and there are many more statistics about the human and financial costs of preventable disease.

As Susie Ellis notes, “The time has come to pool our resources–knowledge, access, funding–and use our collective megaphone on the world stage to create a world free of preventable disease. Whether you own a medical spa or work with clients to help them have healthier skin, offer healthy nutrition programs or manage a fitness studio, together we can accelerate the pace of change and achieve significant results.”

Carmona, who was the leading spokesperson on numerous matters of public health in the United States, recommends individuals and businesses consider these tips in an effort to  strive in health advancement for all.

Define Your Challenge

Learn more. Where possible learn the health metrics for your community from local, state and national health departments or groups like the CDC, American Red Cross and others.

Identify change. Look to identify needed changes that you have the ability to achieve within your resources.

Speak up. Speak to local, state and national leaders in government and the private sector to determine their priorities in ridding preventable disease and ensuring health for all.

Look locally. Assess what programs or initiatives may already be planned or available in your geographic area of interest.

Do the Work

Back to basics. Work to ensure that all people have access to clean water, nutritious food and shelter.

Shots, shots, shots. Work to ensure that all children and adults are immunized.

Think women. Work to ensure that all women have access to reproductive health care and good nutrition and prenatal care when pregnant.

Be social. Work to ensure that the senior population stays socially connected wherever they live.  Loneliness accelerates loss of cognitive ability and hastens death.

Get physical. Work to ensure that people of all ages have access to regular recreation and physical activity in safe areas. 

Stay committed. Whether picking an existing project or starting a new one, make a commitment to foster change by ensuring health for all through prevention strategies.

REFERENCES

  1. www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm
  2. www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/how-can-we-create-a-healthier-world
  3. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs355/en/