"Mom’s Health First On Mother’s Day" By Allen Weiss, MD, MBA, President and CEO

Mom’s Health First On Mother’s Day

May 1, 2011 - Celebrating Mother’s Day is a time-honored tradition. All generations of moms should be honored and involved. As adult children we can pay tribute to our mothers by helping them with their health. As moms of children who are too young to understand good health, women can help their families by taking good care of themselves.

We can all benefit by increasing our awareness of mom’s health and focusing on the importance of primary prevention and diagnostic screenings. Encouraging conversations about family health history will enable us all to better understand the risks of certain diseases and how they might affect the next generation in our family. “It is never too late or too soon to commit to better health,” is a good thought which I used to share with patients in my practice.

One very good idea shared by NCH Healthcare System’s partner, “Spirit of Women,” is to make becoming healthier and understanding your inherited risks a project for both you and your mother to enjoy working on together.
Life is not a spectator sport; being involved in your health as a mom or a devoted family member is important. Being proactive by creating an active lifestyle is an excellent way to avoid disease and, some think, the best way to avoid harm.
Easy to follow current examples for everyone include:

• exercise daily for at least thirty minutes;
• maintain a healthy weight;
• make positive changes in your own environment to best suite your particular situation;
• avoid habits like smoking and consuming too much alcohol, caffeine, and soda;
• consume a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D.

Protecting your body is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Many illnesses can be avoided by understanding disease processes so that the triggering events and environments that cause disease can be avoided. Arthritis is an excellent example of a group of diseases which can be modified for the better by prevention of joint and bone injuries when one is young. Staying in physically good shape with strong muscles helps protect joints which subsequently stay mobile and fully functional.
Numerous chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure), can also be avoided or improved by controlling one’s weight and diet. Many Americans consume excessive amounts of salt in their diet. Encouraging mom—and everyone else—to use less salt, especially by avoiding processed foods, would be a wonderful resolution for this Mother’s Day, and going forward.

Also, understanding your genetic make up is now easier than ever before due to recent advances in unraveling the gene. As we take a close look at ourselves, we can see how much we resemble our parents. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” is the classic expression relating to how our personalities relate to our upbringing; this resemblance, however, is even more closely related to our genetic make up. As everyone knows, almost all diseases have a genetic base which is triggered by environmental factors.

On Mother’s Day, sharing multigenerational health experiences should help everyone live a happier and healthier life. We can all feel better helping mom – whether it is a mom who is older than ourselves

. . . or younger. Happy Mother’s Day!


Past Health Advice Articles

Dr. Allen Weiss is CEO & President of the NCH Healthcare System. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Rheumatology and Geriatrics, and was in private practice in Naples, Florida from 1977 - 2000. Dr. Weiss is active in a variety of professional organizations and boards, and has been published in numerous medical journals, including the American Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.