As we consider and celebrate these victories, we must also remember how far we have to go. Today, while the rate of smoking has dropped, it remains the leading cause of preventable death, claiming the lives of 440,000 Americans each year.
I don't think "Thank you!" can truly express the gratitude that many of us often wish to express to those who are not in the business of treating cancer patients who give their hearts, time and love to those of us that have connected with the disease.
Health policy experts have long contended that one of the key reasons the Medicare program will eventually run out of money is because of the outsized influence lobbyists for health special interests have in Washington.
We can approach the health problems that stem from unhealthy eating and physical activity as individual concerns requiring individual treatment. Or that there are social influences that affect what we eat, how we live and how healthy we end up.
If we work to spread that message beyond our clinics to schools, homes, and the workplace, we will be that much closer to getting chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes under control and to helping New Yorkers live fuller and healthier lives.
By branding it as a disease, are we running the risk of attaching new negatives to already struggling individuals? That is yet to be seen, as is what impact the AMA's proclamation might actually have on the fight to end obesity.
Beyond the obvious lack of training preventing most physicians from being able to effectively treat obesity, there's another issue at stake: physicians just aren't afforded enough time with their patients.
There is a certain irony in the nearly immediate juxtaposition of the rare introduction of a new FDA-approved drug for weight loss (Belviq) to the marketplace and the recognition of obesity as a "disease" by the AMA. A line from the movie Jerry Maguire comes to mind: "You complete me!"
Victimizing obesity as a disease is dangerous territory, and from my perspective just feels like another excuse for pharmaceutical companies to make money. Why would anyone choose diet and exercise over a magic pill? I certainly wouldn't.
As it turns out, according to much evidence, being part of a family can be a very healthy thing -- straight or gay. And now no less than the American Medical Association has officially opined on the issue.
There is a wide body of evidence that Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) maintained a special interest in and appreciation for homeopathic medicine. It is therefore not surprising that many of Lincoln's advisors were users of and advocates for homeopathy.
When was the last time you attended a networking event or a panel discussion held by one of the associations you've joined? If the answer is "I can't remember", you may agree with me that the days of associations are numbered, unless they change.
This week, Wal-Mart announced the release of its home-grown, front-of-pack nutrition guidance system. Can we possibly be that gullible? If so, we probably all deserve to be eating whatever the big companies selling food tell us we should.