Our Nation's Health: My Personal State of the Union

04/14/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

"This is the first generation of kids in history who are predicted to have a shorter lifespan than their parents."

-Dr. David Katz, Head or Yale University Research Dept.

Some scientists believe that the universe will continue to expand only so long, and then it will begin to recoil, ultimately collapsing back onto itself. Have we possibly hit that point in terms of health on our planet? Certainly we can't ignore the epidemic of calamities that are pillaging through all of our ranks, especially our young.

The litany of improprieties is growing at an alarming rate and shows no sign of slowing down or showing mercy of any kind. Diabetes, heart disease, ADHD, asthma, autism, and, of course, obesity are just a few of the headliners. Like the biblical plagues of old, the demise of our health threatens everyone, or at least someone close to everyone. Today it's not locust and flies but rather processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle that are tormenting our world. But the big difference between then and now is that this plague is self-inflicted.

It would be one thing is we didn't know what we needed to do to stop it. But if you ask anyone, literally anyone, young and old alike, what we need to do to improve our health, you will hear the correct answers 100% of the time. Let's say them together: more exercise, better nutrition, and less stress.

You see, it's not that we don't know what to do, or even that we don't want to do it, but rather we have bought into a conflicting set of values. We have been played. Our societal values have been re-purposed by manipulative marketing campaigns that are so masterful they rival Bobby Fisher in his hay day obliterating anyone or anything that goes up against them. If you think about it, the powers that be literally have convinced us that what we really want is to be fat, lazy and suffer from a major disease way before our time. Oh, they use different words, and dress it up to look like a life of leisure, a whole way of being, one reserved in the past only for Kings and Queens. And we have bought into it, hook, line and sinker.

With fast foods, processed foods, pesticide and chemically laced foods, and most recently genetically engineered foods our nutrition has been taken out of natures' hands and put into the hands of chemical engineers and fast food conglomerates. Most food is no longer even remotely related to nutrition.

In terms of exercise ... well, it has become an esoteric concept for most. Exercise is literally on the endangered species list. The only area of lasting survival being reduced to the digits of the hand where dexterity in our youth's ability to "frag" one's on-line competitors in Halo 3 with one hand, while opening another "red bull" with the other is at an all time high.

And managing stress ... what? Today's world is so fast paced, with so many responsibilities and so much information coming at us 24 hours a day that most of our bodies haven't had a chance to really relax since we started walking. For example did you know that the amount of information we are exposed to each day is greater than the amount our grandparents were exposed to in a year?

Okay, here's the point in our story where if we took a commercial break, the big pharmaceutical companies would come running to our rescue with a couple ads for the latest in pill shaped cures for depression, anxiety, weight loss, sleeping problems and something you didn't even know you had, but now realize you do and thankfully there is a pill for it with the only side affects being: depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, possible bladder infections, toothaches, loss of hearing, loss of vision, and in a few rare cases total spontaneous combustion.

So what to do? Is all hope lost? (cue the first Rocky soundtrack) Not at all. It's exactly at times like these that we find out just how strong the human soul is. It is precisely when we face seemingly insurmountable odds that we find reserves of strength and resolve that we had no idea we had access to. And it is in moments like these when we remember that we are all connected, we are not separate from the whole, and that our efforts no matter how small play a role in effecting the entire human race. So this is a call to arms... and legs... and the rest of your body to join the movement to turn this ship around.

What can you do? Here's what: make being healthy a priority. Pay attention to your body. Pick one thing. One small thing. One thing that doesn't take more than a minute or two to do but that you know if you did it would make you healthier and improve your overall quality of life in a big way. Then, and here's the key, do that one thing every day.

Here is a short list of quick and easy habits, all of which will change your life if you incorporate them into your daily routine.

1. Bounce and Shake for 1 minute when you first wake up in the morning.
2. Drink water
3. Take a 5 minute walk around the block
4. Do 10 push ups and 20 sit-ups (any style)
5. Eat 3 veggies each day.
6. Eat fruits and nuts for snacks during the morning and afternoon
7. Before you go to bed, write down the 5 things you need to get done the next day
8. Keep a gratitude journal
9. Take 10 long slow deep breaths right before bed each night

Again, this is just a sample, but you get the idea. All of them are simple, take no more than a couple minutes, and will dramatically improve your health and the overall quality of life. For more suggestions and a revolutionary way to make any and all of them habits, go to See how easy and fun it can be to be healthy, and start to really live like a king or queen.

Check, your move : )
The Baietto Brothers