“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While the adage exaggerates the medical effects of an apple, the message behind it certainly bears truth–medical precautions prevent the majority of illnesses and foster health. Yet, despite hearing this phrase from childhood, many people neglect their health in modern America.
In order to prevent the illness spikes over the winter, people must take greater hygienic and preventative measures to combat the spread of disease in today’s world–Americans today are too negligent in maintaining their health.
Most Americans do not take the necessary precautions to protect their health. In 2006, the Center For Disease Control (CDC) reported that 135 million Americans, more than a third of the population, suffered from some form of chronic illness. All the causes of these conditions listed by the CDC are unrelated to genetic predispositions or natural occurrences of disease–all of the causes are fixable. The causes the CDC cites are a lack of physical fitness, poor diet, tobacco use and over consumption of alcohol.
The scope of these causes are widespread in the American population. 33 percent of Americans do not exercise enough, only 24 percent of Americans eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables daily, 20 percent Americans smoke tobacco, and 30 percent of adults reported binge drinking on a monthly basis. These fixes are all remarkably easy to enact. If one does not want a high chance of lung cancer or COPD, then one should not smoke. If one wishes to keep the heart healthy, then one should not eat unhealthy and should avoid watching 3 hours of television per day.
In addition to the irresponsibility of maintaining one’s health, Americans are equally guilty of not keeping their sickness to themselves. From the mom who takes her sick kid to the park to infect all the equipment, to the student who shows up to school with a 103 degree Fahrenheit fever and a festering open wound on his arm, many Americans are incredibly ignorant in sharing their diseases with the world. NPR reported that over half of workers in the food industry show up to work sick. Many students too, refuse to listen to their body for fear of missing class and instead come to school to infect everyone else and put germs on everything they touch.
High school students make themselves especially vulnerable with their adolescent habits. 35 percent of high school age students, according to the CDC, watch more than 3 hours of television per day; only 22 percent exercise on a weekly basis. According to the New York Times, a mere 20 percent of high schoolers get more than 8 hours of sleep per night.
Loyola has recently suffered outbreaks of whooping cough and MRSA in the past year; sick students must be considerate of other healthy students. Students who are ill must abstain from attending school despite the penalties intrinsic with only 3 class meetings per week, as they only worsen their own illness and contaminate the environment around them. Loyola students in general need to do better in preventing illness. Cover coughs, wash hands, sleep at least 8 hours a night. Also, pack a lunch, consistent Zlicious eating is detrimental to students’ bodies and minds it has almost little nutritional value.
Departing from the explainable bad health habits humans exhibit, there are some actions that are crimes against society. According to a survey of 100,000 people conducted this year by the Initial Washroom Hygiene, 62 percent of men and 40 percent of women do not wash their hands after using the restroom. American ignorance to the danger of the spread of disease was made most manifest in the all too prudent decision to bring in carriers of Ebola onto the continental United States and risk an outbreak.
While not all disease is preventable, good health is certainly achievable. For a developed Western nation that enjoys technology that did not exist for thousands of years, we ought to have a far healthier country and school.
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