Healthy living is longer living [Editorial]

No amount of committee meetings or government recommendations will result in improving the health of people who smoke, are overweight or underexercised.

The only thing that can help people with these particular health problems – them being us – is us.

The county health department and various public interest groups can let us know tobacco use and overindulgence at the dinner table are particularly acute problems for people in Harford County, but it's up to those of us who would rather watch TV or surf the web than take a brisk walk, who would puff on cigarettes and ignore 50 years of warnings, who would go back to the buffet for seconds or more to do something about it.

The ones who suffer the consequences are largely those of us who fail to heed the warnings. Smoking in most public places has been strictly curtailed, making exposure to dangerous secondhand smoke less of a risk for those who have made the healthy choice not to smoke. (Unfortunately, secondhand smoke hasn't vanished as a health problem.)

Doubling up on bacon double cheeseburgers, however, is a threat only to the person doubling up (though family members and friends will suffer in other ways when lives are ended prematurely as a result of failure to self-regulate caloric intake).

Recently released information that Harford County, in aggregate, is overweight, and smoking too much, just as it was last year at this time, isn't particularly shocking. The changes necessary to make a difference in these statistics are highly personal.

Still, they're changes worth making. There are lives in the balance, specifically the lives of the people who would do well to make those changes.