Dr. Alison Christian-Taylor, a family physician at Western Branch Family Practice, understands that your best intentions of keeping your family healthy can get lost in the shuffle of everyday life. But, she says, managing your family’s health can be like managing any other organization. Start by thinking like a CEO.
“The CEO has a vision for where they want to take the organization — or in this case, where you want to take the family,” she said. There are three major steps.
- Have a family meeting to assess where members are and to determine goals — which could be shedding a few pounds, managing high blood pressure or getting back in shape. Ask your family, “Where do we want to be in six to 12 months?”
- Make good health a team effort with all family members playing a role. Someone athletic could establish a family activity plan, while another family member can suggest healthier meals. Engage everybody to work toward achieving the family vision.
- Think about the foundations to achieving good health, such as yearly physical exams, dental exams, screenings (including mammography, colonoscopy and other tests) and a review of insurance coverage. Encourage and support family members to get these exams.
Christian-Taylor advises making small changes at first and never losing sight of the overall goal. And while running your family health initiative, remember the basics. “I don’t think anything takes away from the fundamental need for regular physical activity, eating whole foods and getting enough sleep.”
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