Dr. Marcus Lee

America is the home of fast food, fast cars, and freedom. We can do more with less and work longer than (almost) any country in the world. When it comes to health, we tend to apply the same mindset. Emergencies and urgencies in healthcare are given top billing, while prevention is put on the back-burner.

Why avoid fried food when you can get a stent in your heart? Why drink water when sweet tea tastes better? So, what if you develop diabetes -- miracle drugs will fix it!

In a landmark study, little kids from the US and poor countries were tested. This was the test: a child was taken into a room where there was a plate with a marshmallow. The child was advised that they could eat the marshmallow at any time, but if they did, they would forgo the BAG of marshmallows that would be given to them after 15 minutes. What happened? The US kids ate the marshmallow. The kids from the poor countries got the bag.

Now, I don’t advocate eating marshmallows, let alone bags of them, but this does illustrate a point. To have a brighter future people must usually sacrifice, save, or suffer. They do this with the understanding that they are sacrificing something that they could consume now for some goal in the future.

Prevention is like that. You must take the time now to wait in a doctor’s office (not an urgent care!). You must listen to the good doctor and take to heart what he is telling you. Then you must do what he says, even if it is painful.

Prevention is easier than it has ever been. Because of government mandates, all insurance companies cover preventative care. Be a long-term thinker -- skip the marshmallow!