Are Health Care Professionals Held to a Higher Personal Health Standard?

As a health care professional, should I be held to a higher standard for personal health?

As I type this blog entry, a half empty bag of red, white and blue peanut M&M’s sits on my desk and the yellow one on the cover of the bag is smiling at me. The good thing is that I’ve been sharing them. The bad thing is that I’ve been eating the majority and have since passed the recommended serving size at least a couple times.

So, the question I want an answer to is, should I – or better yet, could I – pull myself to eat better? After all, one of my unknown nicknames in college was “Snackers.” This was largely due to my ability to put away a family size bag of Doritos and soda or other obscene serving of junk food at a single 30 minute or less sitting and act like nothing happened. Granted, that was half a lifetime ago where I was nearly 40 pounds lighter, exercised almost daily and had the metabolism to match. Today, with three kids, occasional long work hours and only working out at home when I get five minutes instead of an hour at a gym, things are a little different. But, it’s not like I’m overweight. Or, at least that’s my opinion. My BMI would say otherwise. But as anyone who is on top of their game in their industry, don’t they all do whatever they can from every angle to stay on top? If that’s the case, should all people who work in the health care industry strive to achieve excellence in personal health?

On one side of the coin, people say obesity is a disease; and the United States is the second most obese industrial country in the world. On the other side of the coin, some think and say that obesity is not a disease and that it’s largely the result of lack of exercise and overeating. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, actually classifies obesity as a behavioral risk factor. So, essentially, as a health care professional, on both sides of the coin, am I being detrimental to my industry (not to even mention myself) by not being as optimally healthy of a person as possible?Healthy Selfie Blake Hall

On June 11, 2015, the “Healthy Self” campaign was launched by the Obama administration. Among many things, this campaign is a joint effort between the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services to promote healthy living. As of today, I’m going to participate in this campaign. It may not be right of me to ask or say that everyone in health care should be on a path to personal excellence in health, but as I strive to be on the top of my profession, I think it’s a step in the right direction.

Part of this pledge is to post any activity that shows commitment to being healthy and using #HealthySelfie on social media.  Your Healthy Selfie may show up on the White House’s website!Healthy Selfie Surgeon General


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September – October 2015 (English)