March 12, 2018

462 Upstream [12 March 2018]

Now that Ryan Meili is the new Leader of the Opposition in Saskatchewan, let’s take another look at his 2018 book “A Healthy Society”. I briefly discussed the social determinants of health on which the book is based in my Feb 5 column [#457 Determinants of Health”].

To illustrate the idea of looking deeper for root causes of poor health, Meilli quotes the parable of the river:
A flailing, drowning child comes floating down toward you. Brave soul that you are, you dive in and rescue it. Before you can dry off and recover, another child appears, so you dive in again and bring her safely to shore. A curious crowd has gathered by now. Another child bobs into sight, and another, and another. People take turns fishing them out. Eventually, someone will ask the pertinent question: Who keeps chucking these kids into the water? And hopefully, someone will head upstream to find out.
The analogy to health care is clear. While we must continue to treat people with cancer, diabetes, and other chronic and infectious diseases, some resources must be allocated to learning and at least slowing their causes or we’ll never catch up. Educational campaigns asking people to stop smoking, reduce sugar, or exercise more aren’t enough. The root cause is much deeper.

In the natural health field we like to think we deal with the causes of disease rather than just treat the symptoms. We look at nutritional deficiencies; genetic differences (called polymorphisms) which may require increased intake or a special form of a nutrient; inadequate exercise; specific food allergies or sensitivities; excess intake of certain food groups; exposure to unhealthy chemicals in our food, water, air and home & beauty products; exposure to electromagnetic fields; unhealthy gut bacteria; and so on. But fixing most of these are beyond the budget (or time or expertise) of many Rosetown residents (and some are beyond mine).

As Meili argues in his book, the root cause of most disease is poverty. And until we muster the public will to tackle that, we will have to keep on fishing the kids out of the river as best we can.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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