Health or Wealth

There is an old saying that 'Health is wealth'. We have heard it many times before and most of us might have advised to others. The question is how many of us are following it. If the saying is true why that is as a generation we are focusing on wealth, making wrong lifestyle choices and ignoring health. In this short essay I will highlight the challenges we, as a generation, are facing and how we are focusing on wealth and ignoring health.

Many of us are leading stressful and busy lives in the modern, globalized and technologically advanced society. Economy is growing at a faster rate so is the cost of living.Many of us are working extremely long hours just to meet the demands. In addition, many of us have other important responsibilities like supporting ageing/retiring parents, providing financial and emotional support to friends/family, studying for higher qualifications and childcare. Furthermore, technology has made us sedentary: we sit in front of TV's, use smart phones, drive automatic cars and use domestic appliances. No wonder we are stressed and struggling to find time to take care of ourselves (health). WHO defines health as a 'state of complete physical, mental and social well-being'. So it seems reasonable to conclude that maintaining health (i.e. mental, physical and social wellbeing) will be difficult.

Moreover, our risks of developing "PREVENTABLE" long-term conditions like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart disease etc. is on a dramatic rise become more and more sedentary. The 'big 4' MODIFIABLE risks factors for PREVENTABLE ill health are: poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol excess. Evidence suggests that small amounts of regular exercise (30 minutes five times a week) bring dramatic health benefits. Yet, nearly half of us are not reaching this (ACHIEVABLE) target. Why I wonder? Is it because aforementioned challenges/ pressures or are we conveniently ignoring health (physical activity) by embracing technology i.e. smart phones, game consoles etc. or are we just taking health for granted?

The need to fight against sedentary lifestyle and participate in regular physical activity has never been greater. Looking forward and planning for future (Wealth) is important. However,we should also look around and reflect on what's happening currently.

In conclusion, as stated earlier Health is Wealth and focusing on wealth at the expense of health is not worth it. This has significant personal and societal implications. So, how can we gain wealth by not compromising or ignoring health? Here I would like to propose a three step process which might help in making a decision.Firstly, we need to decide what is important, staying healthy or becoming wealthy. Secondly, we should take a moment and reflect on our current lifestyle choices. Thirdly, we should make realistic, manageable and sustainable lifestyle changes. Translating intention into action needs proper planning and 'thinking through' to avoid risks of failure. We should avoid 'becoming perceptually ready' to respond when temptation occurs.For example, after reading this article you might get tempted to make several lifestyle changes. Another typical example is New Year resolutions.

As a society we are becoming more sedentary partly due to work/family pressures and partly due to modern technology. We need to re-discover the importance of health and well-being so that we can prevent ill health. We need to make serious efforts to improve our lifestyle choices and ensure that the changes made are sustainable. Most importantly we need to be skilful in incorporating physical activity into our busy and hectic lives.

'Keep calm and change lifestyle'


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