Americans need to think differently about their health. We are last in the world for all key indicators of health, despite our current views. We are last in life expectancy, with the highest rates for obesity, infant mortality and low birth weights.
This situation was revealed by the Institute of Medicine sponsored study, NIH. The lead author of this study noted that Americans are sicker, more likely to die earlier, and have more injuries than those in other high-income countries. This is a quote taken from the report. He then added the coup de grace: “We were shocked by the propensity to find all the negative side – The scope of the disadvantage encompasses all ages, including seniors and both sexes. It also covers all classes of society. We must act now to ensure that our lives are shorter and that children in the United States will be more sickly than their counterparts in other countries.
Two ways to think about health
Americans are too passive about their health, according to me. Conscious deeds are the only way to achieve and maintain good health. These actions require discipline and planning. These include regular exercise, vigorous eating, and positive, active behavior.
Your lifestyle choices will impact the quality of your health. How much you invest in your health is a major factor in how good your health will be. Your health and ability to make such investments will be affected by your genetics, the aging process, and the timing of your medical care.
You will notice a dramatic difference in your health if you invest and if you seek to protect and defend a high-quality state of wellbeing.
We must therefore distinguish between these two types of health: one passive and one active.
America’s passive population is the reason that the Institute of Health report places America last. If the small percentage of Americans who are active in their health would be separated, and their data compiled and compared, we’d probably be number one.
These and other reasons are why I suggest we see health in two ways. We can make a distinction between static and earned health. This is the way most people view and approach their own health. This is what you get if you make wise investments in your health.
It’s a way I call real wellness.
Health as Currently Perceived
The WHO definition of “health” is not realistic. No one, not even the most religious wellite, has “complete physical, psychological, and social well-being.” Many people view health in a much lower level of importance. Many people believe they are healthy if they don’t get sick. This is absurd. This is a way of saying that you don’t need immediate medical attention. This is the “good enough” view for most people. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. This means that you cannot be healthy. This static definition of health must be changed. It should at least be accompanied with another perspective, if possible. This would be earned health.
We need to think about health in a way that reminds people of a fundamental fact: a static, unearned state of health is not as beneficial, desirable, protective, or rewarding. Static health, which is the default setting that you have for being ok and not doing anything to improve your health, should be reinforced and boosted.
A term such as earned health may remind people that health is more than just non-illness. Earned health can indicate a higher level of well-being. It can be used to remind people that health is not static. It is a dynamic state that can improve with effort and get worse if it is ignored.
Earned Health is a higher standard of health. Earned Health is more ambitious and consistent than the current norm for health. It requires a real wellness mindset and lifestyle.
The Static/Earned Continuum
The continuum is another way to express Dr. John Travis’ original line drawing model for health. It has “premature deaths” on the far left and an ever-changing dynamic with “high-level wellness” on the right. The “0” at the middle is a neutral point. It could also be simple non-sickness.
The Static/Earned Health Continuum
-10 ______________ 0 ______________ +10
Earned Health is the sum of all the events that occur between the neutral point and the +10 indicator. Because health is dynamic and constantly changing, everyone moves along an imaginary continuum. Living wisely and adopting the right behavior can help us achieve a better state of health than if we let our health be affected by time, chance, circumstances, or other events.
This continuum simply illustrates the fact that earned health changes largely because of our efforts to improve our well-being; static health is affected by what you do.
Travis also made frequent improvements to his original model. The latest edition can be viewed here . You can also read more about the continuum. Dr. Travis Wellness Energy System is another construct that will be of interest to wellness enthusiasts.
Medical interventions cannot improve or determine earned health. Static health is the health that runs along the continuum (from the center to the left).
The Way to REAL Wellness
We can only make ourselves healthier by moving along the right side continuum.
America’s inability to recognize the unique nature of health and how it is earned from static partly explains why we can get so much medical care but not have the best health. Modern medicine is wonderful, but people expect too much from it.
Understanding the difference between earned and static health can help people become more active and realize the value and need for REAL wellness.