I try to live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I exercise, eat healthy and do my best to make good choices.
But, like many others, when life gets busy and I find myself needing a food fix, the best intentions too often go out the drive thru window.
Confession: This actually happened just this week. I was attending meetings, got busy and on the way home, I did what every person does and got an easy paper bag meal.
It got me thinking, which can happen on my long drives (And believe me there is a lot of them) how often we have the time and ability to eat healthy but, yet, we often resort to less healthy alternatives.
Whatever the reasons may be, it’s those choices throughout our lives that can cause health risks as we age.
There are really two components to a healthy population — one is treating illness and injury, the other is prevention through promoting healthy choices.
A previous PC government created a separate Department of Health Promotion. My friend and colleague Pat Dunn is a former Minister of this Department. Its mission was to promote healthy lifestyles based on the knowledge that a healthier population would ultimately lead to lower healthcare costs. It was very successful, particularly in helping young Nova Scotians understand the risks of smoking.
Unfortunately, the NDP nixed the Department and folded it back into the Department of Illness Management known now as the Department of Health and Wellness.
Over time, governments have lost touch with the fact that improved focus on healthy living puts a priority on health promotion, health education and access to information. We need to find ways to encourage people and help them lead healthier lifestyles.
Government thinks too much about treating illness and not enough about preventing them in the first place. It’s not enough to immediately eliminate the crisis in healthcare but in the long run, it would help ease the burden on the system that will frankly, only become more strained as our population ages.
Leader, Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party