Editorial | Good health is everybody’s business

It is a great thing to see Islanders outdoors. Even with the chillier temperatures, Islanders seem to make a point of heading outside in early January. Some jump into the frigid waters of Lake Washington for reasons known only to them. Others count birds. Teens ‘board and cyclists pedal. Others bundle up and take the kids and dogs to the park or grab their shopping bags for a stroll to the store. Walkers are out trying to work off those holiday pounds, while others continue their exercise routines just as they always have. With the new year comes new resolve, but old habits often stand in the way. A story today on the health statistics for King County residents indicates that most of us still have a ways to go to become healthy. Many of us worry more about the environment than our own health. But the two are intertwined.

Many of us need to stay healthy to take care of our families. But even more than that, poor health leads to higher health care costs for everyone, and absenteeism hurts productivity and business. Resources that are spent on preventable illnesses could be spent elsewhere for the greater good — whether it be medical research, education or food safety. Of course no one wants to get sick. Stuff happens. We all fall down. We must be compassionate and constructive. Yet, the more we take care of ourselves, the more resources will be at hand to take care of those around us who are in need.

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