Who's Healthier, You or Your Car?

Who's healthier?  You or your car?

It's the theme of a cute new commercial, with the guy I adore (used to be on QVC) asking people all these questions.  (Wish he'd take off that baseball cap, but maybe he has no hair under it?)

The new question is, what's in better shape, you or your car.

Predictably, the folks all say their car, including the guy who says he needs a new wheel, but his car is doing great.

But what's the truth of this?  Do we take better care of our cars?  Sue Curry, PhD, recently blogged on at the Huffington Post that this is a matter not to be taken lightly.  While cars have gotten smaller and more compact, we've gone the opposite way.  She references Martin Becker, a renown "healthcare promoter," as she describes him, who facetiously noted that "we should weigh less than our cars."

But in the years since he said this, she reports, "Cars have become lighter and we all know what's happened to our weight."

Curry, who is concerned mostly with public health, has used this commercial to write about our overall health and well-being as a country.  She says that public health successes are mostly tied to what doesn't happen -- "kids don't get measles, people don't get emphysema, or cancer from a lifetime of tobacco use, communities aren't sickened through exposure to unsafe water and food supplies."

But the reality is that while our country spends more than any other on healthcare (a whopping $2.6 trillion in 2010, according to Curry), our results are no better, sometimes worse than, countries that spend far less. Curry puts it down to our obsession with "cure, not prevention," and suggests we need to start investing more in healthcare and ways to head off disease -- losing weight, becoming more active, watching our cholesterol, getting regular mammograms and PSAs for prostate cancer -- rather than to try to cure it when it arrives.

I must say I agree.  But then there all the experts on the other side of this, who say we spend far too much money on looking for disease in healthy people, or the "healthy well," when we could better be investing more in what causes these diseases.

So who's healthier, your car or you?  In my case, my car is a month older than my son (12), and I'm 'way beyond that in years.  But I'm still here, and so is my car, so I guess it's a tie.


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