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veggie still lifeNutrition Bites
veggie still life
Compiled by Angela McIntosh and Dr. Robert McIntosh, MD


Nutrition Bites for March 30th, 2005

Nutrition Bites for April 20th, 2005

The CHIP program offers an amazing public health program that has been successfully used by public health, corporations, and even whole communities around the world to teach people how to reverse the lifestyle habits that are leading to an epidemic of obesity, suffering and ill-health which is a tremendous financial strain on personal and public pocket books. CHIP founder, Dr. Hans Diehl, Phd, clinical epidemiologist, was inspired by his friend, renowned physician, Dr. Dennis Burkitt, of Burkitt's lymphoma fame. Dr. Burkitt spent his life making the connection between diet and illness while working in South Africa. He likened our health care system to one where we place an ever longer stream of high tech ambulances at the bottom of a cliff to pick up the injured people who've fallen over the edge rather than putting a fence up at the top to prevent people from falling in the first place. A CHIP program taught in schools and offered in communities could do more to reform our spiralling health care costs and painful, life-threatening suffering than all of the money in the world thrown at wait-lists, new technologies, and drugs.

There is an excellent write-up about the successful implementation of CHIP in several communities which are listed under news in the CHIP website and reported in this article in the local Rockford newspaper.

This year the Globe and Mail ran an article on what is becoming one of the biggest threats to the major US auto corporations. You guessed it--the mounting costs of health care for their aging employees who are getting sicker and sicker at younger and younger ages, just like the rest of the North American population. In America an employee's healthcare insurance is picked up by their employer. Who is picking up the costs of our employees' ill health in Canada? Tax payers ofcourse. We are all footing the bill for our universal health care and poor lifestyle habits. It wouldn't be surprising to find out that big American auto multinationals are trying to figure out how they can move their manufacturing north of the border so that they don't have to pay for escalating health care costs. Or, what if the Americans are planning to take us to the free trade courts over the "subsidy" our government is providing Canadian corporations by allowing employees to use our publicly funded health care system. We would hate to see the end of our universal health care because of American business. Wouldn't it be tragic if Canadians lost their homes when they get sick as Americans do or were denied healthcare when they develop a chronic illness that is too costly for the private health insurers to want to pay for? Have you ever experienced the shock of getting ill out of country and having to visit an American hospital? Paying $8,000 US upfront for an out of country hospital visit or short stay is bad enough even when you know that your extended travel medical plan will reimbourse you for the expenses when you get home. Imagine being faced with bills for hundreds of thousands of dollars? This is something that happens every day in the US. It is time we take steps to get healthier so we don't further escalate the inevitible costs of our bank-breaking healthcare and save the money for health care for costs that we cannot avoid through lifestyle improvement and for making health-care universally accessible to all people, like for those in the North or in smaller communities who have lost their hospitals and extended care homes.

The CHIP program has been run for several years in our community of Penticton by a group of dedicated volunteers from a local church and interested members of the community. There was also a CHIP program that ran for several years out of Whitehorse, NWT and was funded by the government or their community health program. Wouldn't it be nice if programs such as this could be funded by money from the government and run in communities, in our schools to educate our kids before it is too late, and even in our universities to train nurses, doctors, and public health administrators about a low tech way to improve health and reduce the bottom line? We can all be making the lifestyle improvements that include the healthy plant-based diet as recommended by Dr.T.Colin Campbell Phd, Caldwell Esselstyn Jr,MD, and Dr. John McDougall, MD, Internal Medicine Specialist.

Wouldn't you like to save your own money so that we might all have a future that includes a good healthcare system? How about having some provincial and federal budget money left over for the education of the next generation, perhaps some economic development or aid for others in need and what about all of the money we need to shift to seniors care as all of us baby boomers hit the golden years? We must all make a difference by adopting healthier lifestyles.

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