Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why is YOUR Health THEIR Business? By Kara Davis, M.D.

Let me preface the following commentary by saying, “I LOVE CAPITALISM!”

Our system of capitalism affords freedom, opportunity and the power of choice for everyone—the entrepreneur, as well as the consumer.  It’s a system that encourages competition, and competition brings about better products at better prices.  But, as with most things, there are pros and cons to capitalism, and this is especially true when it comes to our health.

Over and over again, when I am presenting to groups on the topic of health, and I bring up the role of big business, I witness a jaw-dropping, eye-opening response—especially with respect to preventable disease.  This is because, unless you are extremely shrewd, you are not likely to realize the dramatic influence the business world has on our personal health and well being.

Consider this:

1. BIG BUSINESS spends billions of dollars on marketing and advertising to persuade us to consume foods and beverages that increase the risk for obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

 2. BIG BUSINESS governs food availability to the extent that certain neighborhoods are categorized as “food deserts” where residents have limited access to fresh, wholesome foods and “grocery” shopping is done at places like gasoline stations and convenience stores.

3. BIG BUSINESS creates cigarette advertisements which appeal to teens, and posts billboards for alcohol in places of hopelessness— neighborhoods that are destitute and poverty stricken.

4. BIG BUSINESS develops advertisements especially appealing to kids for foods that are high in sugar, sodium, saturated fat and calories.

5. BIG BUSINESS oversees the research, development and marketing of prescription medications that cost a fortune, but are necessary to treat the diseases which result from numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Did I say I LOVE CAPITALISM?  Indeed I do!

And I’m not being sarcastic—capitalism is a wonderful system, but as the saying goes, “LET THE BUYER BEWARE.”  We must be educated consumers, especially when it comes to what we put inside our bodies, which brings to mind another cliché: “THE BUCK STOPS HERE.” 
Ultimately, we as consumers are responsible for our health—big business has every right to advertise and market their products, but we have the right to make decisions which are beneficial and not detrimental.  So the answer to the question, “Why is YOUR health THEIR business?” is this:  It’s only if you want it to be!  Let’s make the choice for better health!

Let me know what you think!  Contact me through the BOSS Network, or at, or Twitter @DrKaraDavis.

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