Whether you live in the United States, Canada, or Western Europe, your health care decision-making is impacted by the type of health insurance available. In the United States, a fee-for-service system implies that you will be paying for some or all of the costs of every service used on your behalf. In Canada patients receive health care through a publicly funded system. Costs are funded via income taxes, so Canadian patients pay indirectly for their care. The majority of Western European countries have national health care systems in place. In France, for example, the national insurance program pays 70% of costs and much of the remaining 30% is paid by supplemental private insurance (most of this is paid by the patient's employer). Regardless, for any given person, more health problems mean more costs. Thus, preventing health problems in the first place is a strategy that will save families stress, anxiety, and financial resources in the long run. In health care it can be said that the best defense is a good offense.
What constitutes a "good offense" in health care? Being proactive in terms of lifestyle choices helps you put together a health care program that works. Your health care "offense" includes a healthful diet supported by sound nutritional principles, regular vigorous exercise, getting sufficient rest, and regular chiropractic care. All these elements are needed to enjoy long-term health and well-being. Each element provides critical value and helps support the benefits you get from the others. Good food helps you build strong muscle in response to regular vigorous exercise. Doing regular exercise helps you sleep better at night. More sleep helps you have more energy, so you have more strength and endurance when you're exercising. Regular chiropractic care helps your nerve system function at peak level, helping all your body systems work well together.
Such a lifestyle program goes very far toward restoring good health and reducing the costs of using the health care system. For example, regular vigorous exercise is an important part of all lifestyle programs aimed at lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.1 A healthful diet and regular exercise help lower the incidence of type 2 diabetes and assist overweight and obese individuals, children as well as adults, in returning to more optimal levels of health.2,3
Many self-help books, DVDs, and television infomercials target those who wish to improve their overall health status. These materials and programs may have some use, but professional advice and guidance is the key to developing long-term, successful health strategies. Your chiropractor is experienced in nutrition, exercise, and health maintenance and can help you design a "good offense" for health care that works for you and your family.