Eats, Grunts, and Leaves

Reading the news, it makes me wonder: why is it so hard to get an appointment with my PCP if everyone is being given the power of an MD?

Schools can be doctors. They're putting BMIs on students' report cards, sending home Fitnessgrams (for more, see
Harriet Brown and Sandy Szwarc).

Businesses can to. They have health improvement programs at work, Weight Watchers can take over the office because dieting is healthy, and companies can raise your insurance premiums if you don't shape up and lose weight to fit within the "charts."

So with all of these doctors out there, why can't I get an appointment?

Schools can't refill my prescriptions; neither can those at work. Insurance companies dictate your healthcare, headed by people who probably aren't doctors, either. Med school is expensive and difficult. There's a reason for that.

Granted, not all doctors are geniuses, and I've certainly met my fair share of boneheads. I've also met a number of gems, who I would like to clone and keep with me, like little pocket pets. Pull the string and hear their advice.

I have teachers like that, too. Teachers who almost drove 6 hours to visit me in the psych unit, 4 long years after I had graduated high school. Or the professor who told me he was glad to hear I had stayed up too late with friends when I was late to lecture. I hear their wisdom, too.

The difference is that their wisdom typically isn't medical.

I don't want a teacher evaluating my health. They haven't been through medical school, don't have the training. You're my teacher, not my doctor. And those charts- you're a chart, not a measure of my health.

The Fitnessgram sent home with children, which basically looks like the Food Pyramid, only for exercise, has the smallest triangle on top labeled "rest." Which is when you sleep, read, study, etc. So much for the 8 hours of sleep per day, no? And what about school? Are you even supposed to attend? It's hard to take notes or pay attention during class if you're doing jumping jacks.

Now, way back, when we still lived in caves and dragged each other around by the hair, there were no such things as treadmills and stair steppers. Men typically sat around the fire, thought, "Hey, let's go hunt some gazelle." They scratched themselves in strategic areas, grunted, gathered their spears, ran around for a bit, killed the said gazelle, and brought it back to the cave. Their wives hacked it up and roasted it on a spit. Eating and more grunting ensued, followed by a long nap.

They did not evaluate how many servings of gazelle were appropriate. They did not wonder how long it would take to exercise the meal off. They just ate. Like this little hamster here:

The point is: we did not evolve to have our activities (or our food) measured on a cute little pyramid or chart. In Roman times, the average live expectancy for the average person was about 40. So what? They were thin! We live longer and are by and large healthier. We only think we're not because we're told fat is a health hazard, and we have more and more ways of finding out that we're sick. So we can take a pill and the pharmaceutical companies can make a couple hundred million bucks.

Which may be the reason why I'm having such a hard time getting an appointment with my PCP.

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1 comment:

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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