Cape Gazette

Friday Editorial

Here's to a healthier, happier new year

Dec 27, 2013

At a recent meeting, Beebe Health­care Director of Population Health Megan Williams and Nemours Health and Prevention Services Community Relations Director John Hollis spoke about 2014. They said one of the first initiatives of the new year will be to refocus on reducing obesity in Sussex County.

There was talk about the cost to the United States of the Affordable Care Act, one of the most controversial and far-reaching programs ever undertaken by the federal government. “There is only one way to bring the escalating costs down,” said Hollis. “That is for all of us to live healthier.”

If we, as a national population, continue to live lifestyles that lead to obesity and contrib­ute to the statistic that 70 percent of health issues arise from behavior choices, the Afford­able Care Act can only swell the national debt. Just like any other bubble, it will eventually burst. The resulting chaos will not be pretty.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Healthier Sussex and Sussex Outdoors initia­tives aim to make Sussex County the healthi­est county in the nation. If successful, those initiatives can be repeated across the nation. The goals are to get more people exercising - one of the most affordable medicines there is - and eating healthier diets. This effort will take years.

Old habits - and generational habits in particular - aren’t broken easily. But when the initiatives are successful, the result will be less time spent in the hospital and in the doctor’s office. Less time in those places means fewer health insurance claims, which means less money required for insurance premiums.

A full-page ad in this edition of the Gazette explains how people can join an internet­-based program, the Healthier Sussex County Clubhouse, to track their exercise minutes each day and in the process raise money for the Sussex Outdoors initiative. Go to for more information.

Studies show that people are naturally more active when they’re outdoors. And when they’re more ac­tive they’re healthier. When they’re healthier, they’re happier.

So here’s to being healthier and happier in 2014 and helping Sussex and our nation in the process.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Greg Mervine | Dec 27, 2013 19:59

Congratulations! This editorial hits the nail on the head. "70% of health issues arise from BEHAVIOR Choices." WOW & how do we change our own "behavior choices"? Either reward ourselves for success, so we love it - or punish ourselves (pay for it ourselves), so we change. Then our new habit becomes a lifestyle - that literally gives us life…& saves us all money.

I am a native - born, raised & chose to come back home. I have also been obese & have felt the loneliness of no one - especially not insurance companies - caring a bit to help me beat obesity. I have been there - to hell & back & beat obesity.

10 - 2 letter words are in my senior yearbook "If it is to be it is up to me"!!! I wanted my life back so bad I could taste it…& did not want to taste any of the junk food that got me fat.

No doubt words are powerful - the more leadership & media espouse the realities that we are in this together…& as this article does - NO ONE can afford to be obese. The calories ingested are expensive, the bigger clothes are expensive, the reduced gas mileage in my car not only kills me at the pump - but pollutes more, the lost work days are expensive (4times more for obese), the medical & pharmaceutical cost to my insurance plan are expensive (4times more for obese) & the ability to "act my way into feeling better" is a great reward.

Our company is 100% behind this initiative & I trust every body with any fiscal responsibility in Delaware keeps this on the front burner. Politicians who see the reality of not being able to fund free care (understand if it is free it is human nature to take it for granted), insurance companies who will be required to pay for it & take it out of their profits, medical professionals who realize costs must come down to the reasonable & customary insurance companies pay, Spiritual leaders who speak against gluttony, otherwise "swept under the carpet" -  it is one of the 7 deadly sins, parents & grand parents set the example every day. Truly more is caught than taught.

School leaders coming along side parents & requiring kids to "Play 60" minutes every day as the NFL advocates. And certainly realizing that "eating less costs less"…for raw food, for labor, for the cost to treat all the diseases that are brought on by obesity.

A mentality that states as one of my clients says "I can even change my tastebuds if it will save my life" is proactive & is required when all marketing of sugar drinks, & salt & sugar snacks makes us think "everybody eats junk all the time."

The reality is it cost to much to eat junk & live a sedentary lifestyle. Our couches are killing us.

Being active releases endorphins & makes us feel great! Overcoming both SAD's at this time of the year - Seasonal Affective Disorder - due to short cloudy days & Standard American Diet - which leads to obesity & depression.

Thanks again for bringing this to our attention - we know better & NOW we MUST ACT better. You will see it in the extended "health spans" of fellow Sussex Countians' !!!

If you do not think this is a big issue read today's USA today article on "Trying to figure out the obesity crisis"…basically our "genes" are not a valid excuse.

One of the biggest barriers I see is fear - fear of success - what will I do if I don't have any health issues to complain about? Freedom from doctors visits is a new reality for many, saving thousands in  increasing copays & medications & gives a month of time back to you each year.

Also fear of failure - it does take a village as Rick Warren's "The Daniel Plan" illustrates & all of us can quote Abraham Lincoln - "I care not that you fall down, I care that you get back up again". I am the boss of me & I am personally responsible for my vital signs.

"Decide, Commit, Succeed" & Celebrate Daily.

Go Fight Win…We can do this.


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