What’s the big prob­lem with preach­ing healthy liv­ing?

The Denver Post - - PERSPECTIVE -

Re: “A re­minder to the healthy-liv­ing scolds: We all die some­day,” Dec. 4 Teresa Kee­gan col­umn.

Teresa Kee­gan’s mes­sage to healthyliv­ing scolds is so wrong in so many ways. Most ig­no­rant is its fail­ure to rec­og­nize the well-un­der­stood so­cial de­ter­mi­nants of health. Poor health is no more a choice than is poverty. Dy­ing young is not an ir­rel­e­vancy, nor is liv­ing sick and dis­abled by dis­ease. Ar­gu­ing that health dis­par­i­ties are a mat­ter of in­tran­si­gence to­ward healthy habits, ap­par­ently more preva­lent among poor peo­ple, is base­less. And most dis­turb­ing is Kee­gan’s ques­tion why the poor, sick from “sug­ary drinks, fatty foods, smok­ing cig­a­rettes,” would want to live “a few more measly and likely mis­er­able years.” For pub­lic health, what should we pro­mote: re­duc­ing health dis­par­i­ties and im­prov­ing the qual­ity of peo­ple’s lives or wel­com­ing early death? Steve Bil­lig, Den­ver

Teresa Kee­gan’s cyn­i­cal col­umn has me won­der­ing why she is en­cour­ag­ing us to aban­don our ef­forts to live a healthy and en­er­getic life. In­stead she seems to say that we can go ahead and live as hedonists with­out heath care and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns.

Her mes­sage seems to be: We’re go­ing to die from men­tal and phys­i­cal de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. It’s in­evitable whether we’re rich or poor. So go ahead in­dulge in your choco­lates, booze, cig­a­rettes and other com­forts.

At age 86, I will con­tinue to walk, use my sta­tion­ary bike, watch my diet, read and do the puz­zles in The Den­ver Post as long as I can. Hope­fully be­ing a re­spon­si­ble hu­man be­ing, I will help to keep down the ex­penses so that oth­ers may thrive too. Kate Krier, Lake­wood

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