Deadline Now: David L. Grossman, MD
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Deadline Now: David L. Grossman, MD

Friday, January 25, 2013

Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner David L. Grossman, MD, is this week's guest. He'll discuss this season's flu outbreak, the overall health of Lucas County residents, the value of vaccination and much more vital information, relevant to our community's well-being.

Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of "Deadline Now:"

The other day I stopped in a fast food restaurant to fill my thermos up with coffee, and noticed that the vast majority of the clients were somewhere between overweight and morbidly obese.

Two of them left when I did, and one of them immediately lit up a cigarette. I felt sorry for them, and frankly, a little disgusted.

Later, it occurred to me that I actually should have felt somewhat angry. That’s because at some level, these folks are causing me, and all of us money. People with unhealthy lifestyles invariably cost the health care system more than most other people do, unless they drop dead of a massive heart attack relatively early.

And no matter what your health insurance is, these costs sooner or later get passed along. Now, I am not the best role model in the world. I should lose a few pounds, and eat more vegetables.

But I do try to avoid major self-destructive behaviors. In some ways, we are a healthier society than we used to be, at least among more educated and affluent segments of the population.

Smoking has declined drastically, for example, and some of the epidemics that terrified my parents’ generation -- polio, for example -- are now history, at least in the western civilized world.

But there is clearly an obesity epidemic. To the extent that mental conditions are a public health problem, then we are looking at a major and mysterious rise in autism that some think is related to changes in the environment.

Since the beginning of time, the environment has been a major factor in public health concerns, and we need to be conscious of that. State, local and federal governments haven’t always done enough to ensure environmental safety in the workplace or in public recreational areas. We probably need to do more, even if it costs money.

Yet in my view, the biggest public health hazard is people who refuse to take responsibility for themselves and their own actions.

Watch what you eat; watch what you feed your kids. Don't drink to excess, and don't, whatever else you do, smoke. I can't think of another more sure-fire and painful way than smoking to ruin your health, shorten your life, and court a protracted and painful death.  

Living a long and healthy life really is its own reward.