How to improve health

I return to this topic today to look at the idea of weakening the connection between social position and health. Why does better social position, wealth, status in the community, create the mental environment that supports a healthier lifestyle? The answer is usually that the wealthier person has more to loose by poor health than the poorer person. I think this is not so clear. It raises another question, why are some people wealthier? Why are some people poorer? I am in no doubt that some historical, social, physical and political environments mitigate against increasing wealth, education, and status. However, I also suspect that there are some heritage (genetic) and personal locus of control issues at play. The person who resolves to follow a disciplined path in one aspect of their life such as education, probably finds it easier to follow a disciplined path in health. So people, who have an inherited tendency to apply discipline and a social (family and community) support for that discipline, will achieve a healthier life. A similar person without good social supports might still battle through to a healthy life. It is easy enough to work through the permutations of these two characteristics to show that there is likely to be diminishing health , with the worst being people with a low genetic disposition to disciplined activity and a destructive social environment. Presuming, then that it is virtually impossible to change the genetic disposition, we are left with enhancing the social support environment. What is important about the social support environment? Well it needs to support the ability, however weak, of the individual, to be more disciplined. Eventually, the individual’s capacity can only be judged as those behaviours that have become habits. Whatever is hard work, or takes special discipline, is not going to applied on a regular basis. For a person to have a healthier lifestyle and for them to support their family in a healthy lifestyle, that lifestyle must be a normal and habitual part of their life. In the modern world this would have to include a way of thinking about healthy choices in an effortless way. So now we are getting to the business end of the problem – how do we train everyone how to think about the range of choices in an effortless way, and get a creative rather than destructive outcome?

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