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Shropshire Star comment: 21st century healthcare also about looking after yourself

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Look to the future, and you see the signs of dams about to burst on the health care front.

And when you consider the amount of pressure the National Health Service is already under, it is a major concern, and a developing crisis.

Some of this bad news is down to the good news that we are living longer. And some of the bad news is connected to the way we are choosing to live those longer lives.

According to analysis from Diabetes UK, the number of people diagnosed with this condition across our region has increased significantly over the last year.

Type 2 diabetes, which increases the risk of getting serious problems with your eyes, heart, and nerves, is often linked to being overweight or inactive.

Those are the major factors responsible for somebody developing the condition. Another risk factor in developing the condition is having a family history of type 2 diabetes.

If you want to understand what’s happening, look around. Or rather don’t, because looking at people around you may be misconstrued. But you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to be aware that in comparison to the slimline generations of yesteryear – and of course this is a generalisation – people today are, to put it politely, by and large a little bigger.

The growing problem of childhood obesity is acknowledged and recognised as a troubling portent of the future. In our busy lives, fast food and junk food are so convenient. People do not sit at the table to enjoy a “proper” meal in the way they once did.

A bribe of a bar of chocolate might pacify a mithering child, a child brought up in a heads-down technological age in which all are in thrall to smartphones and other devices, and a blizzard of apps and games are more of an attraction than getting fresh air and exercise.

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It’s a free country, and people can choose how to live, but education and encouragement are the weapons to steer them to the healthier choices.

Healthcare in the 21st century is not just about being looked after – it’s also about looking after yourself.

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Speak to the old folk about their childhoods.

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Some remember days of no electricity, no mains water, no indoor toilet, rationing, the cane, polio, TB, and maybe just one or two treats at Christmas from parents who had scrimped and saved. And the strange thing is that they will remember their childhoods fondly.

They had nothing and they had everything. The great outdoors was their playground. They wandered wild and without fear.

Somewhere along the way society has become so risk-averse that children have been placed in invisible chains. Those chains are well-meaning leashes for their own protection.

Are they happy? There is a case for saying this is the most miserable generation of children in history, with many beset by anxieties, depression and other psychological problems.

We have seemed to have forgotten the things which can get their eyes sparkling and the heart racing – adventure, thrills, danger, scrapes...

By these means they explore an exciting world. In comparison, a smartphone can be a window to a dark and nasty place.

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