Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

A Simplified Formula For Good Health

You can’t do anything about your genes, but here’s a formula for good health — simplified:

0          Cigarettes
5          Servings of fruits and vegetables a day
10        Minutes of silence or relaxation a day
30        Body mass index (BMI) below
150      Minutes of exercise a week    

You knew this already, but are you really doing it?

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Congressman, Olympian, Colombian, Canadian: Fighting Obesity Through The Boys & Girls Clubs Of America

Rep. Steny Hoyer & Dr. Val

Rep. Steny Hoyer & Dr. Val

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer offered the keynote speech at the Youth of the Year awards for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Rep. Hoyer was himself a member of the club in his late teens, and credits it for turning his life around and setting him up for career success.

Rep. Hoyer reminded the audience about how critical it is for young Americans to have positive role models, a safe place to socialize, and adults who believe in them. The BGCA is also involved in reducing and preventing childhood obesity – a national crisis of great medical importance.


Carolina Correa & Dr. Val

Carolina Correa & Dr. Val

Young Carolina Correa, the 2009 Northeast Region Youth of the Year, introduced herself to me at the event. She was bright and confident – and it was only during her speech to the crowd that I discovered that she had survived a triple family homicide in Colombia, moved to the US with her mom and ailing step dad, and worked as a child laborer to provide for her family and younger brother. Thanks to the Boys & Girls Clubs, she managed to overcome all her obstacles and find peace in the midst of her personal storm, achieving academic and athletic excellence in the process.


Dominique Dawes & Dr. Val

Dominique Dawes & Dr. Val

Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes is a strong supporter of the BGCA – and helps to inspire young members to get fit and pursue athletic careers.

Tomorrow I’ll be moderating the Be Healthy event on behalf of the BGCA. A panel of experts will be revealing promising new research results – demonstrating how BGCA’s Triple Play program has dramatically reduced obesity rates among those who enroll in the program.

With 70% of obese children becoming obese adults, and obesity itself costing at least 10% of all healthcare spending – any program that bends the obesity curve is welcome news. So stay tuned for more coverage on BGCA’s approach to helping kids get fit – and developing lifelong character in the process.

I myself am humbled to spend time with youth (like Carolina) of such character and perseverance. They are truly inspirational.

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »