DIY Checkup: Taking Control of Our Health

Monday, June 14, 2010

What does "healthy" mean in America today? From trendy diets to calorie-burning shoes, we get so many confusing messages about what we need to do to be healthy that we lose sight of the goal. Maybe it's time to reconsider how we define health.

What does healthy mean to you? When it comes to maintaining your health, what works for you?

Newsweek's Kate Dailey will help us look more deeply into this issue. She and Dr. Aaron Carroll will explore the myths associated with our fat and thin obsessions. They'll explore what we can we let slip when it comes to our health and whether we're taking the right steps  to live longer, healthier lives.



Aaron Carroll and Kate Dailey

Produced by:

Jen Poyant

Comments [10]


Shayna--don't forget "just because I'm thin doesn't mean I don't need to lose weight." An extra five pounds might not seem much to YOU on my frame, but for MY norm and the way my body is, it's not normal. Same goes for plenty of larger-framed people I know: some weights are just too low for them personally, even though others may find such a weight healthy.

Jun. 17 2010 12:05 PM
Kevin from Southampton

Suzanne, it isn't rocket science, it's simply energy in less energy out. A pound of body fat contains about 3,500 calories. If you want to lose a pound of fat per week you need to use 3,500 calories more than you eat each week. That's just 500 calories per day.

Work out your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories your body uses just sitting still), work out the number of calories in what you eat, and do the math. Slimming clubs simplify exactly this method, so you don't have to do the calculations, but there is no magic to it. I lost 40 pounds this way, eating fewer calories and exercising a little more.

Jun. 16 2010 07:28 AM
Christina from East Village

I was very excited to hear Dr. Carroll broach the topic of people obsessing over what they cannot control, yet ignoring what they can control (in regards to their health). So, I was very disappointed that this significant point was not addressed or explored further but dropped and moved on to the next subject. I believe this psychological quirk is key in people's ability to take charge of their health so I hope you will take some time to explore why this is so. It is as if people use that as a crutch or excuse to not get better.

Jun. 14 2010 11:36 PM
Shayna F. from New Jersey.

I really enjoyed listening to your program earlier this morning. Your guests seem very educated, professional, realistic and compassionate. The host, however well-meaning, seems to be out of touch with the realities for people who truly struggle with food & weight concerns. Just because someone is thin does not mean they are healthy, and just because someone is heavier does not mean they are 'out of control.' People dont just choose to overeat (if it were only that simple). This is not a position of honesty, but a position of naivetee. Im glad she has never truly experienced these struggles, but as s/one who works with clients who suffer from eating disorders (from over to undereating) on a continual basis, this is very wrong. The professionals are correct to focus on what a person CAN DO to be healthier, and not having weight loss or gain be the (ultimate) measure of success.

Jun. 14 2010 01:26 PM
Stephanie from Bergen County

I am a registered dietitian and have worked in hospitals and doctors' offices. There are many areas to address, I could write a book with my ideas, but one that never seems to be spoken about is the responsibitliy that lies with the primary care physician. It has been my experience having worked side by side with them that they are the key. First, what they say is immeasurably important, and when they say it. They need to address the unhealthy signs as soon as they become evident not years later when the threat to health is higher, and also more difficult to change. Instead of promoting a pill to help solve the problem, send the patient to a dietitian and personal trainer. People that are on cholesterol meds actually tell me that they no longer have a cholesterol problem. Yes they do! Secondly, doctors themselves need to walk the talk. Doctors and nurses are some of the most unhealthy people I know, so how can you expect them to be convincing in their plead for their patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle? In the same vein, the unhealthy ones tend to down play the health recommendations such as the "eat five a day'. "Just drink a V8," they say. Or "cut out the eggs" for high cholesterol people, with no mention of the bacon. Or for high triglycerides, "switch to diet soda".? But don't worry about the 2 lbs of pasta. The bad nutrition information is everywhere even from the sources we thought we could trust. Even my own industry doesn't agree, but I feel the best impact for national health change is the medical establishment.

Jun. 14 2010 10:31 AM
Suzanne Kelly from Mason, NH

I take offense with Celeste's comment on weight loss being something we can just "decide" to do. I have a horse farm, and along with all the chores necessary to that endeavor, I ride three horses, go to the gym, and eat healthy food (from either my own garden or from local sources). I don't eat junk food, drink soda, or snack between meals . . . and I still need to lose at least 50 pounds. I am so sick of people thinking that it's easy to lose weight. There's a lot more too it than you realize.

Jun. 14 2010 10:26 AM
Chris Hance from Charleston, SC

Throughout high school I struggled with my weight. In college, I fortunately had a roommate who was a health nut and an exercise science major. He taught me the ins and outs of nutrition, the difference between good and bad fat, and the importance of calorie watching etc. Armed with an understanding of what to eat and what not to eat, I incorporated it with a strenuous workout plan and went from 240 pounds to 164 pounds in a years time.
Losing the weight has made all the difference in my life and health. Overall, I have more energy and most importantly I can’t remember the last time I took a sick day. Everything from flying on an airplane to going to a football game is easier, not to mention buying clothes.
My problem growing up was that I had no one telling or influencing me to make good choices when it came to eating. Going to both public an private schools the subject was not broached at home was the same. Being healthy for me is simple nowadays the majority of my diet consists of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Rarely do I eat meat, fast or fried food, or drink anything besides water.

Jun. 14 2010 09:51 AM
Karen from NYC

The guests are really thoughtful and reasonable, but the host comes across as not only as judgmental, but out of touch. You may know some people who "won't" change their diet or exercise, but many of us struggle constantly.

Also, please name your GP and insurance plan. Mine doesn't have a diagnosis number for "I went to see the MD because I want to get healthy." I have to make my appointment 6 months in advance for my annual physical, can't imagine what the wait time is for a "help me get healthy" visit.

Jun. 14 2010 08:01 AM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

I live in a pristine rural environment. I breathe fresh air, drink my own spring water, hunt for and grow my own food, stay away from all processed food - especially sugar and refined carbohydrates. I walk a lot, take naps, surround myself with good friends, listen to the news and try to keep the Frackers, who want to rape New York for natural gas and spoil our precious environment, at bay.

Jun. 14 2010 07:25 AM
Joseph Cavalieri from east village new york

Since leaving my full time corporate job 2 years ago to start my own business I stared working out at home - i found the best workout online with this powerhouse muscle dude on fire island - look at the "scooby" series on youtube - I have been following this and keeping in great shape.
I don't eat meat, no soda, and the same weight as highschool which was 30 years ago.

Jun. 12 2010 07:16 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.