The public health illusion
Backside of the Western World
We are currently in the midst of an epidemic of personally-generated metabolic, musculo-skeletal and psychological dysfunction. That's the bad news. The good news is that being personally-generated there is a good chance that it can be personally-ungenerated.
The public health experiment that started in the 1970's with the elevation of the medical industry as the gate keepers of primary health care hasn't worked. In fact it's been a resounding failure. The health of the population has got worse. That's because the epidemic is not a medical problem, it's a fitness problem. Too may people are in dreadful physical condition.
It's not a public health problem either. The big public health problems were solved years ago. They go un-noticed - even as we take a drink of water, go to the toilet or take our children to be immunized.
Because it's a private health problem the it's not amenable to public health or medical industry solutions.
Here's what's happened since the turn of the 20th Century.
In 1900 Australians were 'lean and hard and wiry'. They stayed that way until the 1970's. There was a gradual improvement in general health due to a dramatic improvement in public heath infrastructure, coupled with heroic medical achievements, like mass immunization and widespread access to antibiotics.
In the 1970's the slide began. We're now well on the way to being a culture that's characterized as being fat, weak and depressed.
Australians have squandered the legacy of good public health established in the first 70 years of the 20th Century. And as the health of the community got worse, the medical industry watched on, pocketing the largess that came from the public purse as it doled out prescriptions to mask the extent of the growing epidemic of poor health.
Enter junk medicine masquerading as 'preventive health'.
But you don't 'prevent health', you create it. The 'preventive health' approach was built on the premise that masking symptoms prevented people with personally-generated dysfunctions from getting worse.
Wrong: the aim of any health treatment is to restore poor function to good. If that can't be done, then palliate.
The argument goes that peopler won't do anything to improve their health. If that's the case, then so be it. It only becomes a public medical problem if the public agrees to fund the treatment.
The primary health care experiment has failed. It's time to gracefully wind down the protection of that section of the medical industry that practices junk medicine, at the same time elevating the fitness industry into the front line of primary health care for personally-generated body system dysfunctions.
As well as continuing to shoulder the ongoing costs of public health infrastructure, governments are now being asked to shoulder the bill of personally generated body system dysfunctions. When state governments are spending more than 25% of their income on medical services, we've reached the point where this subsidization of the consequences of poor private health is unsustainable.
From the Pro-Active Rehab perspective, the key underlying cause of the epidemic of poor health is a lack of physical fitness - aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility - coupled with dietary insufficiency and a range of debilitating lifestyle behaviours.
The failure of current primary health care interventions to adequately diagnose and treat the underlying causes of these dysfunctions, is fuelling the epidemic, not bringing it to a halt.
That's because when dealing with lifestyle problems, it is only on the rarest of occasions that they can successfully resolved with the medical solutions that are currently being recommended.
Expensive medical diagnostic instruments fail to diagnose the underlying cause of many conditions - which leads to treatments which do not restore poor function to good. Poor health gets worse.