You are your number one healthcare provider

When we think about health, many consider it from the negative.

The focus is on symptoms, injuries, illness or disease.

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Many approach their healthcare the same way.

They see a doctor or other healthcare provider mainly for the treatment of these conditions. Health is defined in the negative. The absence of disease and healthcare becomes passive: the treatment given by a healthcare professional.

I think of health as the optimal balance of the important areas of your life (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, family, social, work, rest and play), guided by what you value and where you find meaning, and the achievement of your positive potential in life.

I believe we each have a unique potential. It is our duty to realize our potential and to help others achieve theirs.

Though we all need the assistance of doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers at different points in our lives, most of your healthcare is provided by just one person. That person, of course, is you.

In this way, real healthcare is self-care. The best predictors of your future health are the habits you practise today.

The four foundations of self-care are: 1) what you eat — what you put into your body; 2) what you do — physical activity; 3) how you feel — emotional well being and; 4) how you relate — healthy relationships.

Over the past two years, I’ve led the Burnaby Division of Family Practice’s Empowering Patients health education campaign. Our goal is to improve the health of our community by providing unbiased health information on a variety of topics including the four foundations, chronic conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, preventive and proactive care, medical ethics, improving your hospital experience and communicating with healthcare providers.

So far we’ve delivered 14 free public lectures in Burnaby’s schools, libraries and community centres and created health education posters, handouts and videos. To see our growing library of health information, check the Burnaby Division’s website at divisionsbc.ca/burnaby.

The family doctor’s circle of care has expanded from the care of the individual patients of a practice to the care of our community.

We care about our patients, and we care about our community.

If you’re thinking of improving your future health by becoming more active today, jump on board with the rest of us next month as we celebrate Move for Health Day and the Doctors of B.C.’s Walk With Your Doc events. On Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m., I’ll be the emcee for the Doctors of B.C.’s annual Walk With Your Doc at Kitsilano Beach Park.

Each participant at the walk will also get a free pedometer (while quantities last).

To find out about the Move for Health Day and Week events close to you, check out your local community centre or the B.C. Recreation and Parks Association website (bcrpa.bc.ca/mfhd2016/events). To learn more about the Walk With Your Doc events in every community, check walkwithyourdoc.ca.

Davidicus Wong is a family physician and his Healthwise columns appear regularly in this paper. For more on achieving your positive potential in health, see his website at davidicuswong.wordpress.com.

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