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Living Well In The Land Of Oz


If everyone could have a physician like Dr. Oz, it’s possible more of us would listen to the advice. His approach is warm and inviting, without judgement. His advice is just plain common sense. The message is consistently about motivating people to take their own health seriously, to be their own advocate and believe they deserve it enough to take appropriate action and make healthy choices.

Mehmet Oz, MD, better known as Dr. Oz, received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and obtained a joint MD and MBA from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton Business School. “In medical school we were trained to believe that as doctors if we got people to understand what needs to be done, we’re finished, we’ve done our job,” says Oz. However, in his career directing the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and as vice-chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University, Oz came to realize that was not always the case. He discovered that people don’t change based on what they know. They change based on what they feel.

On his show, which airs weekdays on Fox 5 at 5pm (with repeats the following weekday at 10am), he knew he needed to reach farther than in his practice — he needed to make emotional connections for why it was important to make lifestyle changes. He acknowledges that it is fundamental to human existence that we are flawed. The show is a means to make people feel comfortable about where they are in life. They watch the show, relate to it, and slowly make moves in the right direction.

Quite often discussions of healthcare turn toward inadequate health coverage in America. While Oz acknowledges that having insurance companies offer appropriate preventative services is a piece of the puzzle, he strongly asserts that, “healthcare will be won in our homes, in our kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms, in our markets and schools, it’s a lifestyle.”

In fact, it was the high number of patients presenting as surgical candidates who were 60 pounds overweight, ate poorly, smoked cigarettes, and never exercised that inspired him to continue his message to the masses about improving their health so they don’t end up in that condition. “Folks think, ‘I’ll have a kielbasa and sprinkle a little bit of Lipitor on it, I’ll be fine’, but that’s not how we’re going to win health in America,” asserts Oz. While he readily agrees that medications have their place, he tempers it with the reality that medications almost always underdeliver in comparison to lifestyle changes.

Oz points out the irony in an all too common scenario of an overweight patient with hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. The doctor can prescribe a series of commonly-used medications, but all of them will result in weight gain as part of their side effects. He advises against painting over problems with pills instead of addressing the underlying health issues, adding, “if the foundation for health is rotten, you will eventually fall.”

Oz hopes his show will connect with people. He credits his producers with figuring out how best to communicate and connect with the right props, guests, and scenarios. This season will continue with serious health issues. He wants to get to the core of motivation and how to push people in the right direction, get them engaged in the process of their own health. “We continue to hone how we share information to make it more actionable for our viewers,” says Oz.

He asserts that you need to change the way you live your life every day, get active, get moving. A daily exercise regimen of just seven minutes can be automated into your regular routine so that you don’t even think about it. “If you can’t carve out seven minutes every day, you have to admit to yourself that your life is too disorganized,” says Oz.

Indeed, we have the power to make a difference in our health with daily inspiration from the land of Oz. (www.doctoroz.com)   COLLETTE MURPHY STEFANKO


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