If health were like wealth, we would accept that it may take extra time and effort today, but that it is worth it because of the return on the investment tomorrow. We would take it more seriously and would make it a priority.
But health is not like wealth. We promote wealth, and often, denigrate health. Our society makes it quite clear that responsible adults take care of their money. They anticipate their own needs in retirement. Wealth is cultivated. Neglecting to take care of your budget and savings is quite simply irresponsible and will cause financial problems in the future. The same applies to health; neglecting your health today will lead to problems, so why do we not place the same value on it as we do on wealth?
Those who do not have time today to eat well, will have to find the time tomorrow for a cardiac bypass. Those who do not have time today to exercise, will have to find the time tomorrow to visit the endocrinologist. Those who forsake regular dental check-ups, will have to find the time tomorrow for a root canal or an oral cancer treatment.
Prevailing neglect of health costs us dearly, individually and collectively, and it costs us both health and wealth. Being sick is very expensive — in every currency that matters: time, effort, opportunity cost, legacy, money and life.
- 415,000 employees took time off work in 2012 due to oral health problems[i]
- One in 20 has taken a day off work to take their child to the dentist
- The UK economy loses £36.6 million per year owing to poor oral health[ii]
UK Charities are getting more proactive in raising awareness of breast cancer and prostate cancer. However, UK’s fastest growing cancer – is Mouth Cancer, as pointed out in our recent ToothTalk Blog, ‘Are you at risk from the UK’s fastest-growing cancer?’ Regular dental check-ups can prevent dental problems in the long-term and help in the diagnosis of oral cancer as well as diabetes or heart disease. And yet, according to a recent Bupa study, only half of 1,019 UK adults surveyed had regular dental check-ups[iii]. When you consider that mouth cancer kills more people than cervical and testicular cancer combined, a lack of regular dental check-ups is a health ticking time bomb.
Health is not like wealth. It is vastly MORE important. Just ask anyone who has one but not the other. So why are we continuing to sacrifice and neglect our health, but pay detailed attention to our wealth?
[i] Research compiled by Research Now on behalf of the British Dental Health Foundation (January 2012), National Smile Month Survey. Sample size: 1,006
[ii] The reported cost of absence per employee last year in the UK was £600, with an average worker taking 6.8 sick days a year. CIPD (2012), Absence Management Report. https://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/survey-reports/absence-management-2012.aspx.
[iii] Censuswide, 1019 UK adults, May 2012.