Doctors should treat unhealthy habits, not just disease

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

AHA survivor
Healthy eating and good exercise habits are key to surviving!

If doctors these days aren’t just throwing antibiotics at patients the moment they get a cough, creating super medicine-resistant bugs, then they’re not taking the time to talk about better health habits.

At least, the American Heart Association (AHA) certainly believes that doctors should start treating bad lifestyle choices as enthusiastically as other health problems.

Obesity is growing (no pun intended), healthcare costs are getting worse, and Americans are neither eating nutritional food nor exercising regularly enough.

Lead author Bonnie Spring, a professor of preventive medicine, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University in Chicago, is helping to battle the worsening problem of uninformed patients and lazy doctors. She recently spoke to Fox News and said that if we could reduce “these risk behaviors… we would greatly reduce the amount of… disease that we have – particularly long term… disease that’s very expensive to manage.”

What’s the deal, then, with doctors not putting a lot of effort into preventive treatment? Well, money! Spring explains, “The level of reimbursement is very low to a point where most physicians probably don’t even bother to bill it… (and) nutritionists, exercise therapists and health psychologists are not able to be reimbursed for this kind of treatment (either)… I think that’s a mistake, there’s a big problem here.”

Well, until docs start getting more cash, patients should at least ask for their lifestyle advice during the next visit. Better yet, do some internet research or hit your local library and get educated about your body’s needs!

Featured image courtesy of American Heart Association Facebook.