Lynn R. Schechter, Ph.D., L.L.C. - Licensed Medical Psychologist
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The importance of good nutrition and exercise

Something we hear a lot about nowadays is the importance of good nutrition and exercise for good health.  As the number of overweight and obese children and adults skyrockets, we are also seeing an increase in medical problems such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure and diabetes.  There are myriad factors that contribute to these trends including (and not necessarily limited to): overreliance on fast-foods which are highly processed, nutrition-poor and calorie dense; decrease in exercise; decrease in our willingness to dedicate time and energy to fitness because it's easier to be couch potatoes; higher cost of healthy foods in some areas; and, increased stress in our lives leading to mindless/comfort-seeking eating.  This is the tip of a very unhealthy and possibly dangerous iceberg. 

Increasingly, many physicians and other professionals in medical allied health such as Medical Psychologists, are looking at the problems of our patients' in a holistic way. It is very important to do so in order to prevent overlooking a possible physical or medical etiology of their symptoms. For example, a client with extreme anxiety was found to have abnormal thyroid function, and when that was corrected their mental/emotional symptoms improved.  Another client presenting with depressive symptomatology was found to have extreme vitamin insufficiency and anemia, and corrective supplementation improved their mood symptoms and lethargy. In another case, an individual gave up junk food, started eating their greens and took time to cook whole foods in addition to building exercise into their weekly routine, and gradually their physical and emotional health improved.  

It is too much of an oversimplification and wishful thinking to believe that good nutrition and exercise are cure-alls for mental illness.  However, the health of the body is indeed strongly correlated with the health of the mind!

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