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"I could tell you that when you have trouble making up your mind about something, tell yourself you’ll settle it by flipping a coin. But don’t go by how the coin flips; go by your emotional reaction to the coin flip. Are you happy or sad it came up heads or tails?"
– David Brooks  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 6 June 2019  

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Michelle Barrette

  By Michelle Barrette

   Welcome to the 16th year of “The New Falcon Herald.” We started out as a neighborhood newsletter at the end of 2003; within a month, we went to a 12-page broadsheet newspaper. Falcon had grown enough that business people and residents wanted an outlet for communication and advertising. This business is tough, especially in modern times; but I am proud that we’ve made it 16 years — and we’re hoping for at least another 16! And our success is because of wonderful, dedicated, talented, flexible, intelligent team members. Thank you all!
   Every January, we publish a special health care issue; our articles this year cover kids and older adults: obesity, diabetes, social media and child predators. We also welcome an article this month from Peak Health about healthy aging.
   Health care is a huge topic, and we are all affected by regulations, costs and treatment issues. In all situations where I’ve been involved with health care issues, including my dad battling cancer and my daughter dealing with sepsis, I have learned that we have to understand and stay on top of every aspect of our own health, from prevention to treatment.
   And prevention means taking responsibility for areas of health that we can control.
   I realize that our genes play a huge part in our state of health. I have a friend who is a vegetarian; she has always exercised; she cooks healthy — and her cholesterol is over 300. Genetics, the doctors told her. However, they also told her that her lifestyle could have prevented a major heart attack or stroke.
   Lifestyle plays a big role in most of the illnesses in industrialized nations, according to an article from the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine. “Six of the 10 leading factors contributing to the global burden of disease are lifestyle related: unsafe sex, high blood pressure, tobacco use, alcohol use, high cholesterol and obesity.”
   But there are many variables to individual health choices. Income, education and access to not only healthy food options but also health care and treatment are three significant ones.
   Smoking, for example, is one choice that we can all agree will affect our health. It’s addictive for sure, but who is responsible for the bad habit? Is it the tobacco company? Government entities, smokers and their families have filed numerous lawsuits against the tobacco companies.
   And the opioid crisis has created another avenue for plentiful lawsuits
   On Nov. 13, an article in “The New York Times” addressed a lawsuit filed by the state of New Jersey against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures opioids. The lawsuit accuses the pharmaceutical company of “misleading patients about the addictive dangers posed by its drugs,” according to the NTY. The company is based in New Jersey.
   The lawsuit states that marketing efforts by Janssen targeted older people and others with little knowledge of opioids, and basically deceived doctors and their patients as to the viability of the drug. Ten other states have filed separate lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the popular opioid, OxyContin.
   I am wondering if some lawyer is eventually going to file a lawsuit against Hershey’s, Burger King or Dunkin' Donuts (Dunkin’) because the companies haven’t been as forthright as they could be about the calories and carbs in their products; thus, creating an obesity epidemic in America.
   I don’t think lawsuits are the answer to our health care woes. I believe that access to health education, insurance, health care and good food is vital. All of these can be prohibitive to someone on a strict budget. I don’t know the answers; but I do know that we have been talking about the same things in health care for years! The same things! The conversation needs a new and innovative direction, all the while remembering that we must take responsibility for our choices and be aware that others might not have the tools to make the right choices.
   To your health! Happy New Year!
   See you in February,
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