Lifestyle & Total Health: The curse & blessing of our lifestyle choices
Wherever you are reading this, take a look at the adult next to you. Chances are he or she appears healthy and nourished. Also, chances are his lifestyle choices and practices, a fundamental to existence, has gotten him or her either chronically exposed to risk factors or preventive factors of chronic diseases – the result of which will subsequently affect his quality of life, health and longevity.
The way we live our life – particularly our lifestyle, behaviors, cultural mores, traditions, the food we eat and how we eat them, our spirituality, and the type of work we do – can be deleterious, benign or protective to our health. Certain ways we live our lives can increase our risk of contracting diseases such as cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other chronic diseases.
Lifestyle practices differs in different communities, particularly due to cultural, traditional, religious and dietary requirements of indigenes of a particular population or community. Different lifestyle practices interact in myriad ways and combinations and each combination and frequency of practice may result in different health effect. Studies have shown that social, behavioral and environmental factors account for up to 80% of health outcomes, and unlike medical and genetic risk factors, these are modifiable (or can be changed). And this is why the Lifestyle Study is important. Unlike other similar studies, this study seeks to identify the distinct Ghanaian indigenous lifestyle practices that could be protective against chronic diseases. The study also looks at our indigenous lifestyle that could be harmful to health.
The Lifestyle study seek to answer the following questions:
- How does the combination and frequency of occurrence of different lifestyle practices interact with health?
- Are there some peculiar Ghanaian lifestyle practices that are protective or risk factors to chronic diseases?
Findings of this study will guide individuals and policymakers in making decisions that are wholesome and improve total health and longevity. Such decisions will be preventive focused, and not curative. Preventive care prevents us from getting sick thereby improving quality of life and reducing the stress on Ghana’s limited healthcare resources.
In service of humanity,