Prescription for a Healthy Nation: A New Approach to Improving Our Lives by Fixing Our Everyday World

Prescription for a Healthy Nation: A New Approach to Improving Our Lives by Fixing Our Everyday World

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by Tom Farley, Deb Cohen
     
 

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America spends more than twice as much for health care as any other nation. So why are Americans among the sickest people in the industrialized world?

Public health experts Tom Farley and Deborah A. Cohen show that the answer does not lie in our medical care system but rather in the world around us. As they explain, the leading killers of our time fall almost

Overview

America spends more than twice as much for health care as any other nation. So why are Americans among the sickest people in the industrialized world?

Public health experts Tom Farley and Deborah A. Cohen show that the answer does not lie in our medical care system but rather in the world around us. As they explain, the leading killers of our time fall almost entirely into two categories: injuries and chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung and breast cancer, diabetes, and stroke. For all its inspiring, high-tech cures, modern medicine is just not very effective at combating these illnesses. Our health, as Farley and Cohen explain, depends much less on medicine than on how we lead our lives. And as their surprising and illuminating examples show, our behavior and our health are in fact shaped by our everyday world-from the design of our cities to the rules that govern our organizations.

Obesity, for example, has emerged as a major health threat because our environment makes it difficult to be physically active and because prepared high-calorie foods-from chips and candy bars to fast food and "food on the go"-saturate our surroundings. Though we'd like to believe that we could stay slim through individual self-discipline, our everyday world overwhelms our resolve. In similar ways, the world around us influences whether we live our lives in ways that increase or decrease our chances of dying from killers as wide-ranging as cancer and car crashes.

In the last part of the book, Farley and Cohen remind us of once-controversial changes to our physical environment that have saved tens of thousands of lives and outline many other ways in which we can change our daily environment so we can all live longer and healthier.

Prescription for a Healthy Nation is at once an exposé of how various industries influence our health for the worse, a paradigm-shifting argument about health and disease, and a positive blueprint for how to create a healthier society.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this latest look at the poor state of America's health, Farley, a medical doctor who teaches at Tulane's School of Public Health, and Cohen, a scientist at the RAND Corporation, tell us once again that Americans are overweight, sedentary and indulgent in a host of life-diminishing habits, the abuse of tobacco and alcohol chief among them. These habits, along with Americans' propensity for serious accidents, lead to premature death for hundreds of thousands a year. In the authors' view, the ongoing miracle of medical science has produced in the American public a laissez-faire attitude to their own health; Americans can live as they choose and hope that the market will produce a cure to save them before it's too late. Since it is, in Farley and Cohen's view, our "physical and social environment" that's making us sick, we should make small changes in that environment to encourage health, such as lowering the price of healthy foods and enforcing such rules as a workplace ban on snack food in cubicles. Unfortunately, throughout this litany of human foibles and social and governmental failures, there's a pervasive tone of puritanical disapproval, and Americans are unlikely to pay attention to this pair of scolds. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Prescription for a Healthy Nation is an excellent book that successfully introduces a new approach to today's epidemics.—Brian C. Reed, JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association

"Prescription for a Healthy Nation is the best book about public health I've read in years . . . Their important message: it is not enough just to take personal responsibility for our own actions-we also have to work for changes in society that make it easier for everyone to stay healthy."—Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

"If we can create an environment that makes us sick, Farley and Cohen contend, we can create an environment more conducive to good health. It's just more challenging to do so."—Donna Chavez, Booklist

"Prescription for a Healthy Nation is highly readable, interesting, and informative. More important, it offers the reader an approach to good health that is balanced and practical." —Jeffrey Koplan, former director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"A wise new book."—Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807097243
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Publication date:
05/01/2005
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
524 KB

Meet the Author

Tom Farley is chair of the Community Health Sciences Department at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. He lives in New Orleans. Deborah A. Cohen,a senior natural scientist at the RAND Corporation, lives in Los Angeles.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Prescription for a Healthy Nation: A New Approach to Improving Our Lives by Fixing Our Everyday World 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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trish_rn More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book - anyone interested in healthcare reform should read it. I hope President Obama has!!