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
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
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
'Keep calm and change lifestyle'