If an American shows an unusual interest and concern for his health, and especially if he dares go so far as to exercise regularly and eat health foods, he is looked upon as an odd-ball and a health-nut. In the United States, health-conscious individuals are often ridiculed and sneered at. In Europe it is the other way around. Those who try to improve their mode of living, adhere to health-promoting habits, control their eating, exercise, visit health spas, etc., are considered very smart. They are looked upon as enlightened individuals with character, conviction and wisdom. For several years now I have been living half of the year in the United States and the other half in Europe, so I speak of this from first-hand experience.

We are basically cure-minded. We don’t worry about our health until we get sick. Then we go to our doctor and expect him to fix us up. Europeans are, vice versa, prevention minded—they are concerned about preserving their health and preventing disease by their own effort.

This difference in attitude is reflected also in the official policies and actions of respective governments and medical organizations. American medical research is basically directed at finding a cure, preferably with a drug, vaccine or surgery. European medical research is to a large degree directed towards the discovery of the causes of diseases, finding ways of preventing them, and then teaching these preventive ways to the public.

For example, in Germany and Russia there are over 3,000 cardiac reconditioning health centers where a person can have his health rebuilt or his heart condition corrected, and where he is instructed to follow a special regimen and diet upon his return home in order to prevent recurrence. In Russia alone it is estimated that about five million people visit such health reconditioning centers each year. In Russia, of course, all this is financed by the government, but in Germany the private industry and insurance companies have spent lavish amounts of money in setting up such centers. Dr. Peter Beckman, director of Ohlstadt Cardiac Reconditioning Center in Bavaria, tells that his program of exercise, diet and mental relaxation helps the heart patient to rebuild his health. Most of his patients are likely candidates for heart attacks, executives in their early 40’s, sent there by their business or insurance companies for free preventive care.

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