Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Investing in your health

It's everywhere these days. I saw a billboard today that a real estate agent put up prompting us to "buy land; invest in something solid." Everyone is thinking about how to secure their earnings. I'm thinking about it too.

But here's something you may not be thinking about yet. Have you thought of your health as an investment? Money that you spend on your health (and your children's health) now will save you great expense in the future. This could be your near future as you avoid copays and gas for doctor visits, medications and other related bills. Or, this could be further in your future as your heart maintains its health or as your children are free from allergies and repeated infections throughout their childhood.

I consider our family health a very wise way to invest our money. I'm preventing future spending and saving lots of money now too!

Dr. Ranjit Kumar Chandra, a pediatrician and immunologist at Memorial University of Newfoundland, decided to investigate this idea. He took a random sampling of 86 people over the age of 65 and gave each either a vitamin/mineral supplement or a dummy pill. He found remarkable improvement in cognitive and immunological health in both the "healthy" and the "vitamin deficient" in the group given a supplement. His findings were reported in a New York Times article in 2001.

"As described in Dr. Chandra's report in Nutrition this month, those who took the supplement showed significant improvement in short-term memory, problem-solving ability, abstract thinking and attention. Even the participants who started out with adequate nutrition got some mental benefits from the daily nutrient supplement, although the greatest improvements occurred in people whose blood contained deficient amounts of one or more nutrients."

"Based on his findings, he has calculated that for every dollar spent on such a nutrient supplement, $28 would be saved in health care costs."

While Dr. Chandra's research was based on a group of elderly people, it is supportable that the medical savings would extend to the middle-aged and the young. Interesting stuff, in my opinion. (I have just mentioned a very small portion of Dr. Chandra's findings. If you would like the whole article, email me for it!)

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