It appears Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s new surgeon general, was a trend-setter.
Three months ago, the Florida Department of Health, under Ladapo, launched the “Healthier You” initiative as a way to battle COVID-19.
As the program’s website says, “From staying active to learning new recipes and boosting your nutritional intake, the Florida Department of Health works to educate Floridians on ways to improve habits and overall health. This is a resource for Floridians of all ages to get active, go outside, improve nutrition, including vitamin D intake.”
The recommendations from Ladapo’s office encouraged Floridians to “take care of your health.” “Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly [at least 150 minutes a week], and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.”
In launching the program, Ladapo also talked up the value of COVID treatments, and mostly skirted the issue of vaccines.
Liberal critics panned the recommendations and Ladapo for downplaying vaccines.
Yet on Tuesday, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School penned a piece for Newsweek advising readers on how to avoid the “worst effects” of COVID.
Dr. Beth Frates, who also serves as president-elect of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, echoed Dr. Ladapo’s advice, and said COVID could be fended off with “lifestyle medicine.”
She noted that 60 percent of Americans have at least one chronic condition, and 40 percent have two or more.
“Research has established a relationship between lifestyle-related health conditions and severe illness from COVID-19,” Frates wrote.
“One study concluded that lifestyle risk factors in combination such as smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity” – the very things Ladapo suggested that Floridians work to overcome – “accounted for up to 51 percent of severe COVID-19 cases. An underlying chronic disease can put people at 12 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19.”
Frates’ program included steps such as eating more whole fruits and vegetables, and nixing the salt; exercise at least 150 minutes each week; getting more sleep; staying away from tobacco and booze; finding an avenue to reduce stress, including meditation; boosting social interactions.
“By embracing the potential of lifestyle medicine now, we can reduce lifestyle-related chronic disease, protect ourselves from the most severe effects of COVID-19 and be better prepared to withstand pandemics of the future,” Frates concluded.
Dr. Ladapo could not have put it better.