Dear Dr. LeCrone:
Recently my siblings and I discussed the fact that both of our parents had died at a relatively young age from a combination of heart disease, emphysema (related to smoking), alcoholism, morbid obesity and diabetes. They were both in their early 60s, and their doctors, family, and friends had suggested on many occasions that they change their unhealthy habits.
We want to avoid following the pathway that they took to premature death. Can you please make suggestions in your newspaper column that might inspire my siblings and me to start living healthier now rather than wait to develop chronic diseases?
-A reader in Ohio
Let me encourage you to embrace the old adage that it is never too late to change. Deciding now how you want to define your health in later years is the first step.
After making this decision, examine your current priorities. Over scheduling, multi-tasking, and the constant pressure to produce more goods and services in less time often divert our focus from healthy lifestyles.
People use a myriad of excuses for putting their health last when they are younger, such as: I was too busy at the time to take care of myself; I thought I would change my bad habits later; my health seemed O.K. back then; I didn’t figure I’d live long enough to worry about being old or in bad shape. Later, the consequences of these poor decisions must often be faced.
Health-care professionals have given us information about the dangers of smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise and other harmful choices. My website, www.haplecrone.com
, also provides information on making healthy choices and decisions, a process that is taught early in life and hopefully adhered to as we get older.
The generation of baby boomers is facing the necessity of making lifestyle changes now in order to reap the benefits of these changes in a few years. Many chronic illnesses are a direct result of the lifestyles we choose. Old habits are often hard to change, but deciding to make these changes when relatively young makes the payoff later in life very worthwhile.
Harold H. Lecrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2006