The typical American conversation about health focuses on personal choice as a key driver — the foods we choose to eat, the number of steps we log each day, the doctors we visit and the medicines we take. But epidemiologist Sandro Galea says that way of thinking is the wrong way.
In his new book, Well: What We Need To Talk About When We Talk About Health, the dean of Boston University School of Public Health says not only does the belief in the power of personal choice fail to fix America’s health crisis, it also diverts us from real issues underlying our nation’s poor health.
“We can choose the food we eat, but our options are limited by what we can afford and by what kinds of food are available for purchase near our home,” he writes. “These factors, in turn, depend on the quality of our neighborhood and the size of our income, which depends on larger social economic forces over which we have little control.”
The notion that one creates good health just by choosing to do so makes it easy to stigmatize obesity, addiction and other chronic conditions as byproducts of laziness or moral weakness, further obscuring their actual causes, he warns.
Read more at NPR