Doctors as Healthy Lifestyle Advocates


Editors Rx


This issue of Health and Lifestyle Magazine puts the spotlight on healthy lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness. In addition to my primary advocacy of colorectal cancer screening, I want to promote optimal health, wellness, and fitness for our patients and readers.

The World Health Organization definition of health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” Wellness is the active process of achieving optimal mental and physical health. With the proper knowledge and guidance, patients can make the right lifestyle choices in attaining wellness and keeping themselves free of disease.

Fitness is more than wellness and physical health. It is the ability of the body to function efficiently and effectively in daily activities, work and leisure activities, like sports. In our day-to-day life, fitness can be an ace up our sleeve. Physical fitness is generally achieved through proper nutrition, regular exercise, right conditioning, and sufficient rest.

Optimal fitness is not possible without regular exercise. For substantial health benefits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adults should indulge in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activities (like walking briskly, ballroom dancing) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (like exercise classes, jogging, running). It does not have to sound like work, but exercise and physical activity can be a wonderful way to feel better and have fun.

Muscle-strengthening activities, like weight-lifting and calisthenics, provide additional benefits not found with aerobic activity. These include increased bone strength, and muscular fitness. Thus, the health benefits of regular exercise, workout, and physical activity cannot be overemphasized.

In our current world, everyone gets busy to the demands of work, family, and commitments. We develop unhealthy habits to cope with stress, expectations, and the lack of time. Unfortunately, bad lifestyle habits lead to chronic diseases, like coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, obesity, and even cancer. These diseases are among the most common medical conditions – the cost in medical care is staggering, yet these are preventable. Diabetes alone is a global pandemic with far-reaching and grave consequences. Cancer is a multifactorial disease, and physical fitness is a controllable prevention.

Changing the unhealthy lifestyle can lead to disease prevention, and health promotion. This is where the role of a physician can be crucial. As doctors, we have the status and influence to advocate optimal health and physical fitness for our patients. With this power comes responsibility. I asked help from my circle of friends who are all top-notch doctors and alumni of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine to help me promote this cause. They are all healthy lifestyle advocates in their own right: orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gar Eufemio, obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Lora Garcia-Tansengco, hepatobiliary surgeon Dr. Tony Perez, endocrinologist Dr. Joy Castillo- Fontanilla, and nutrition physician Dr. Nina Sioson. I also enlisted my friend Laurence Mossman who is a fitness enthusiast to join in thiscause.

We assembled like The Avengers and vow to help our patients and readers make the right lifestyle choices in keeping themselves free of disease. In this issue, our cover story reviews the three different body types, and recommends the right workout and appropriate diet to come up with the best version of yourself. Dr. Eufemio gives us tips on how to start your road to fitness in the mid-life and senior years, while Mr. Mossman outlines the simple and most effective workouts to fast track your fitness goals. Dr. Sioson emphasizes the importance of balanced meals and healthy cooking styles, while Dr. Fontanilla warns us about the risks of quick-fix and fad diets. Drs. Perez and Tansengco discuss their individual journeys as an athlete in their mid-lives.

I hope that this anthology of articles that focus on fitness, exercise, nutrition, and even tips in life will promote our advocacy for a better and healthier lifestyle. As advocates of healthy lifestyles, we can help revolutionize medicine today as we can improve the sense of well-being of our patients, keep them free of disease, and lower medical costs.

ATENODORO R. RUIZ JR., M.D.
Guest Editor

January 2019 Health and Lifestyle

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