Senate gets it right with focus on prevention

Eat right and exercise. Easy to say, and we’ve all heard it a million times. Tougher to actually do on a day-to-day basis.

Eat right and exercise.

Easy to say, and we’ve all heard it a million times.

Tougher to actually do on a day-to-day basis.

But it’s exactly what we should all be doing to stay healthy, which is why it’s so heartening that the Lake Cowichan healthcare team, the members of which we are profiling in the Gazette, is focused on helping us do just that.

Prevention of illness is always better than treatment after we are sick. Just ask anyone who’s sick right now.

Historically, our healthcare system has been largely focused on helping people who are already ill, whether it’s providing medications or surgeries.

But we know that many of the illnesses that we are now treating with that system grow out of lifestyle choices.

It only makes sense to try to target those choices to get at the root causes before someone ends up in hospital or at the doctor’s office.

Healthcare in Canada is still largely about treating sick people. But over the last few years there has been some progress on shifting some of the resources and attention to prevention.

Last week a new Canadian senate report came out looking at obesity in our country.

The numbers are not encouraging.

The number of obese children has tripled and the number of obese adults has doubled since 1980. That’s just a 30-year span. Imagine where we will be if we continue on the current trajectory without change.

The report makes 21 recommendations, some of which have already proven controversial in certain circles.

One of those recommendations is a tax on sugary drinks, which has already, unsurprisingly, drawn the ire of the Canadian Beverage Association.

After watching how many kids walk around with four-litre bottles of pop that they drink in a single day we think it’s the least we should be doing.

We also applaud the idea of rewriting the Canada’s food guide without the food and beverage industry being allowed to stick their oar in. Let’s face it, the only reason they want to have a say is to put stuff on there that shouldn’t be.

There are also several recommendations that encourage more funding to get us off our couches and moving.

The report states that only 15 per cent of adults are getting the recommended 150 minutes of activity per week.

If we want to reduce the cost of healthcare in the years to come, we must take these ideas seriously.