Living a Healthy Lifestyle
"The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake." —First lady Michelle Obama
The World Health Organization (WHO) observed World Health Day in April. United Methodist Women recognizes the importance of making sure that every day is a health day. A healthy lifestyle can mitigate the influence of multiple risk factors, and education on how to be healthy is critical. Currently more than one-third of U.S. adults are considered obese. Obesity, which is on the rise, can cause other conditions to worsen or develop. Without the proper information, many women can be unaware of the steps they need to take in order to be healthy.
Obesity causes a range of significant side effects, including other health problems. According to a recent study, the health care costs of obesity-related diseases are $147 billion per year. The prevalence of obesity and its high cost have caused the government and nonprofits to increase their involvement in addressing this issue. In February 2010, first lady Michelle Obama launched an initiative to challenge child obesity in America, called Let’s Move! The organization works to help families access affordable healthy food and nutritional information.
This year the WHO dedicated World Health Day to the issue of hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure. In 2008, 40 percent of adults aged 25 and over had high blood pressure. Currently, treating obesity and obesity-related conditions costs billions of dollars a year. By one estimate, $190 billion were spent on obesity-related health care expenses in 2005 in the United States—double previous estimates.
There is an enormous amount of information about the health problems that result from an unhealthy lifestyle. With initiatives like Let’s Move, people are becoming educated about how to live healthier lifestyles.
Congressional members have been considering a bill introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, S. 39:
Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention America Act, or HeLP America Act, amends the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990, the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Public Health Service Act, to establish or expand programs for children's nutrition and physical activity in schools and with child care providers, expanding the free fresh fruit program, promoting equal opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in schools and colleges, revising the definition of "core academic subject" to include physical education, and including the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles by students within educational grant programs.
Living a healthy lifestyle requires effort. But if a woman has the knowledge about how to create one, her chances of succeeding are much higher. Luckily, organizations and the federal government have begun to help by providing more information and creating initiatives. In order to continue to improve health education, whether it is for yourself or a child, it is important to review important bills such as S. 39. Doing so is taking one step closer to a healthier life.
What can you do?
Urge your members of Congress to cosponsor the Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention America Act (S. 39).
Read Resolution 3201, “Health Care For All in the United States” (pages 318-327), and Resolution 3202, “Health and Wholeness” (pages 328-341), in The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church (2012) for guidance and calls to action on elections and politics.
Connect with organizations that support healthy lifestyles.
- National Women’s Health Week
- Office on Women’s Health
- Work together: Find a local group that works toward creating a healthy lifestyle.
- Let’s Move!