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Authors

  1. Section Editor(s): Laskowski-Jones, Linda MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN

Article Content

It's time once again to make New Year's resolutions. The crux of mine is contained in this editorial's title, and for a very good reason: As nurses, we collectively spend most of our time caring for people who are sick. The vast majority of healthcare resources are expended to treat illness and injury. Shouldn't we make a commensurate effort to keep people well?

  
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That's where healthcare systems really fall short. We can't ignore our duty to prevent disease and injury, particularly given the steep personal and societal costs. Nurses are fundamental to this vitally important work.

 

It's well known that the origins of many illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and most cancers, significantly connect to lifestyle choices about food, activity level, environmental risks, habits, and behaviors. But persuading someone to make a lifestyle change that's evidence-based is especially hard when the person still feels healthy enough and the deleterious effects of poor choices aren't yet obvious. To borrow a line from Shakespeare, "Aye, there's the rub." That individual might smile and nod, yet remain unconvinced that there's any compelling reason to change. However, the question shouldn't be whether or not the poor lifestyle choices will produce disease-it's more a matter of when.

 

We have to start asking deeper questions about the health effects of our food choices, including the myriad of additives you can't identify or pronounce beyond the salt, sugar, and fat content. What about chemicals? Environmental toxins are in our homes and communities. Have you considered the health impact of your own household cleaners, detergents, and even cosmetics? Again, healthy choices are important. Google the Environmental Working Group to learn more.

 

Then there's the matter of exercise. Simply choosing to stand more than sit and to move more than remain sedentary confers health benefits.

 

Consider starting your New Year by becoming informed about the pros and cons of various lifestyle choices based on available, high-quality, evidence-based sources that aren't industry-sponsored. One of my personal favorites is a website called http://NutritionFacts.org. This site offers blogs, videos, and reports about health and nutrition topics based on research findings published in academic journals.

 

This New Year, make healthy living a continuous, conscious journey, not just a future destination!

 

Until next time,

 

Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN

  
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Editor-in-Chief, Nursing2017 Vice President: Emergency & Trauma Services Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del.