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Is Healthspan or Lifespan more Important?

Feb first week Blog Post (3)

What is working for and against increasing healthspan?

Sadly, many of our health structures do not support positive preventative healthcare.  Our health insurers often cover only when you are actually ill, rather than helping an individual avoid the illness, if possible, in the first place.  Also baby boomers consider themselves a tough bunch, and many don’t see the need for preventative health checks, soldiering on until it becomes too serious to keep going.  Additionally, getting in home support is often woefully underfunded or not available, pushing more people into care than perhaps need to be there.

However, there are regions of the world that are focused on increasing healthspan and are transforming their communities.  They are doing this by promoting facilities such as walking paths, bike lanes and attractive scenery; food markets featuring fruit and vegetables, as well as restaurants with healthy choices; societies and clubs with active members.  All of these can contribute to increased healthspan.

As Dr Allen Weiss, CMO of the Blue Zones Project shared, “Southwest Florida’s Collier County metropolitan statistical area added 0.6 years of life expectancy over the past five years. This positive result, due in large measure to the Blue Zones Project, is in contradistinction to the rest of the nation which lost 0.2 years from 2015 to 2017. Additionally, Southwest Florida’s cardiac mortality declined 8.1 percent during the same time period.” 

For those who are unaware, the Blue Zones Project is based on nine principles — moving naturally, having purpose, downshifting, consuming a plant-slant diet (little to no meat), eating until 80 percent full, having wine at five, putting family first, have a positive group of friends, and participating in a faith based organisation.  These principles were learned from five locales around the world where more people live to age 100 than other places globally.

Are we ready to move on from talking about extending lifespan? Is healthspan worth a bit more understanding about how we can influence it?  What can you do to increase your own healthspan, and those you love? What can you contribute to your community to influence it also?

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