A person certainly can not control the genetics that he or she enters the world with, but that being said, there is a lot that we can control about our health. We can control our attitudes, our stress, our eating, our exercise, and our willingness to be in healthy or unhealthy relationships, all of which contribute to health or lack of it.
People have control over most of their determinants of their health. While we cannot control the environment to a great degree, we can control what we eat, drink, and if we take drugs or smoke. In addition, we can also control whether to use protection for sex and whether we go to the doctor or not.
Up until a couple of years ago, I was under the impression that most of the illnesses we get are genetic. This is not the case. It has been shown now that diet, exercise, and environment have a lot to do with your health and genetic behavior. This changes my mind in regard to this.
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A lot of public discussion of health care policy is based on an assumption that people can control their health with lifestyle changes. This assumption is untrue. The risk of acquiring some major health problems can be reduced (not eliminated) with lifestyle changes, however a vast array of health problems do not fall in this category. Many cancers are not lifestyle cancers, many chronic diseases such as MS, cystic fibrosis and glaucoma cannot be prevented. Some babies are born with chronic diseases. Genetics plays a significant role in individual health and is completely beyond human control. It is a myth the people have control over their health.