On the same day a study showed Americans are the least healthy among citizens of wealthy countries, there is a front-page article about residents of Santa Monica complaining that too many people are exercising on public land at Palisades Park. That's more than a little ironic.
Lack of physical activity is one of the main drivers of poor health in this country, and you would think everyone would be in favor of more people exercising. This is just an example of the unexpected challenges faced when trying to help people be healthier. You would be surprised at how many people object to improving physical education in schools, protecting bicyclists from cars and slowing traffic so kids can walk to school safely.
The writer is a professor of family and preventive medicine at UC San Diego.
As you note, despite the presence of top-flight medical schools, well-trained doctors and nurses, extraordinary equipment, terrific medical research and 5,000 acute-care hospitals that are required to serve the entire population, the U.S. lags in mortality, morbidity and life expectancy versus other developed nations.