Environmental Stewardship: Choose Health

by John Berge 
The closest part of our environment, and that which may be the most under our control, is our body. The vital characterization of that body is our health.
Did you know that, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation annual study, Racine County ranks 63rd out of the 72 counties in Wisconsin in overall health? We have ranked from 62nd to 66th in the last four years. I submit that we choose to rank as low as 63rd.
  • We choose to eat greasy, salty, sugar-laden foods rather than a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and lean meats.
  • We choose to ignore the recommendation that we have at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week.
  • We choose to take in more calories per day than our bodies need to live the lifestyle we have chosen, resulting in overweight and obesity.
  • We choose to drink more alcohol than our body can metabolize and then choose to drive.
  • We choose to inhale tobacco smoke and stick other pollutants, drugs and noxious chemicals into our bodies and call them “recreational”.
  • We choose to ignore the speed limits (or act as if they are minimums rather than maximums) and other safety rules and regulations of the road.
  • We choose to be distracted by electronic and human activity when driving or walking in or close to traffic.
  • We choose to skip the recommended vaccinations for ourselves and our children.
  • We choose to have unprotected sex with multiple partners.
  • We choose to have children while still children ourselves and without a full family for support.
  • We choose to not see a doctor or dentist until consequences are serious or too late.
It is obvious that all of us do not participate in all of these bad choices. It is also obvious that there are economic, genetic and geographical factors that contribute to the poor standing of Racine County’s overall health. Kenosha and Milwaukee Counties are down in the low end of the list, also. But we can and should make better choices; it would be good environmental stewardship of our “holy temple”.
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