Here’s another interesting quote from Your Money or Your Life by David Cutler: (by the way, to those of you still looking to add/drop classes, EMR20’s turning out to be a great course if you’re interested in some really intriguing topics ranging from how to help out the “bottom billion” to what kinds of public health approaches may solve America’s obesity problem. You can check out the course website here & you need to login with a Harvard ID)
“People viewing depression as a biological disease are more likely to talk to their doctor about the illness and seek treatment. Doctors who know that safe treatments are available are more likely to diagnose it. In the years since Prozac was approved, diagnosis of depression has doubled” (42).
Question: What does depression have to do with HAP’s health education to members of the younger generation? Answer: This quote highlights the key importance of education. Once people acknowledge something as a “biological disease”, suddenly their whole attitude towards that condition can change. In turn, only with a shift in attitude can there be a change in lifestyle, which frankly is the best action a person can take within his or her own control to prevent not only biological diseases like obesity and emphysema, but also the precursors to these diseases. By choosing against risky behaviors like excessive avoidance of exercise or smoking, people can proactively see that they are fighting against disease, and will feel the urgency as if they had already been diagnosed. Imagine the power of this kind of attitude, if everyone were well-informed enough to take care of themselves before they had a disease!
It seems education is the key to revolutionizing the system of American health care as one that consistently delivers better health outcomes in the future.
Food for thought!
Posted by Alice Li ’14
Harvard College Health Advocacy Program's mission is to connect Boston youth and Harvard undergraduates with health education and wellness resources so that they may actively pursue a healthy lifestyle. To achieve this goal off-campus, HAP's mentors work with elementary, middle, and high school students to teach hands-on health curricula covering topics such as nutrition, exercise, food advertising, and music and noise induced hearing damage in youth. On-campus, HAP promotes our mission by hosting health-themed study breaks, group exercise socials, and resourceful cooking seminars. We believe bringing together undergraduates passionate about healthy living will enable us to improve the health of the communities in which we live.