NPR

'Well' Explores The Social And Political Underpinnings Of Health

In a new book, physician Sandro Galea calls for a change in how we talk about health in America. The real drivers of wellness, he argues, are not personal choice, but our history, policies and values.
Well-kept parks, clean air and water, safe and friendly neighborhoods: these and many other factors outside our control contribute to health. Source: WIN-Initiative

The typical American conversation about health focuses on personal choice as a key driver — the foods we choose to eat, the number of steps we log each day, the doctors we visit and the medicines we take. But epidemiologist Sandro Galea says that way of thinking is the wrong way.

In his new book, Well: What We Need To Talk About When We Talk About Health, the dean of Boston University School of Public Health says not only does the belief in the power of personal choice fail to fix America's health crisis, it also diverts us from real issues underlying our nation's poor health.

"We can choose the food we eat, but our options are limited by what we can afford

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min readSociety
'A Small Part Of A Serious Problem': Criminals Hired As Police Officers In Alaska
A joint investigation by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found that in one town, every officer had been convicted of domestic violence within the last 10 years.
NPR3 min read
Equifax To Pay Up To $700 Million In Data Breach Settlement
The credit reporting agency will pay up to $700 million in fines and monetary relief to consumers over a 2017 data breach that affected nearly 150 million people.
NPR4 min read
Venezuelan Officers Who Fled To Colombia Are 'Adrift' As Maduro Holds Onto Power
More than 1,400 members of Venezuelan security forces crossed the border hoping to one day return. Some say they're losing steam as efforts to depose the administration have fizzled.