In last week’s blog I wrote about the paradox of prevention, a human nature phenomenon whereby we overvalue the treatment and undervalue the prevention of chronic disease.
I asked for your feedback as to why this might be, and there were so many thoughtful responses.
Your insights were really quite profound so I’ve summarized them into 5 key points.
- Connecting the dots isn’t always straightforward. If you touch a hot stove, you get an immediate burn. If you eat chocolate sundaes every Sunday, it might take years before you gain weight, become diabetic, or figure out that you’re lactose intolerant. This lag time between stimulus and response makes it harder to nail down the problem.
- Peer pressure impacts adults too. We’re far more likely to experience peer pressure to eat something bad for us than to eat something good for us. And because so many adults routinely make unhealthy nutrition and lifestyle choices, it becomes more socially acceptable to follow suit, thereby reducing the motivation to change.
- We’re “high” on sympathy. Some people thrive on the attention (i.e. love, safety, or security) they get from being ill, even if it’s below their conscious awareness. So even though they may desire positive lifestyle change on an intellectual level, they may fear it on an emotional level, which is what ultimately drives most of human behaviour.
- We’re suffering from analysis paralysis. Due to the sheer volume of confusing and even conflicting information, sometimes we spend so long researching our plan of action that we never actually get around to implementing it!
- We’ve been socialized into the “magic pill approach.” Our healthcare system was designed to be more reactive than proactive, because it was designed to address acute — not chronic — conditions. With ten minutes per patient, doctors truly don’t have adequate time to spend educating and providing the necessary accountability and follow-up to facilitate a smooth and successful lifestyle change. But they do have time to prescribe a pill. And we’ve become accustomed to taking that pill.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to write in with these insights. Now I’m curious. Which one resonates the most for you? Please leave me a comment below. I really do love hearing from you.