The national debate on health care has obscured the most obvious point. It’s so obvious that we often ignore it. If we don’t ignore it, we don’t do what we need to do in order to ensure… not our access to the best health care… but our good health.
Access to affordable health care matters. But, when it comes to good health your personal habits matter more.
Researchers in Cardiff, Wales studied five factors that promoted good health:
… regular exercise, not smoking, low bodyweight, healthy diet and low alcohol intake.
They were trying to see how to prevent the illnesses associated with aging. They learned that people who had good habits had a far lower incidence of dementia, and that, among the five habits, exercise is the most important:
The BBC reported:
People in the study who followed four of these had a 60% decline in dementia and cognitive decline rates, with exercise named as the strongest mitigating factor.
They also had 70% fewer instances of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, compared with people who followed none of the factors.
Professor Peter Elwood, who led the study on behalf of Cardiff School of Medicine, said healthy behaviour was far more beneficial than any medical treatment or preventative procedure.
"The size of reduction in the instance of disease owing to these simple healthy steps has really amazed us and is of enormous importance in an ageing population," he said.
As Benjamin Franklin famously said:
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.