"Vitality Project," Tobacco-touting Doc Named "Best/Worst Prevention Ideas of the Week"
Posted Jan 20 2010 1:00pm
The “Vitality Project” in Albert Lea, Minn., was named “Best Prevention Idea of the Week,” while a noted Canadian psychiatrist who touts the benefits of smoking was awarded the honor of “Worst Prevention Idea of the Week.”
The “Best/Worst” awards are given by “Prevention Matters,” the blog of Partnership for Prevention. Nominees are suggested by Partnership staff and the general public, and voted on by the staff.. Partnership for Prevention is a non-profit organization of business, nonprofit, and government leaders working to make evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion a national priority. For more information about Partnership for Prevention, go to www.prevent.org
The results are in on the “AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project,” sponsored by the United Health Foundation, a program to help the residents of Albert Lea, Minnesota, eat better, become more active, and connect with one another. By the time the Vitality Project ended in October 2009 a total of 3,464 residents of all ages had participated. The life expectancy of the 786 residents who took the Vitality Compass before and after rose by an average of 2.9 years. Two-thirds of locally owned restaurants added life-extending foods to their menus, from berries to broccoli, and 35 businesses pledged to make their workplaces healthier by offering more nutritious catering menus and vending machine choices, and substituting fruit for doughnuts. Residents participated in 15 Vitality Project initiatives ranging from "walking school buses" to healthy cooking classes.
The former president of the Psychiatric Association of Quebec believes there are benefits to smoking and, as such, society shouldn't be treating smokers as outcasts. In his new book. Dr. Jean-Jacques Bourque points to the therapeutic benefits of smoking, calling it a stress reliever for the depressed and anxious. As for actual health benefits, he cites the fact smokers are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's and Parkinsons disease. A smoker himself, the doctor also suggests non-smokers should show a little more compassion towards smokers instead of sending them outside to have a puff. Bourque's position is outlined in a new book to be published soon.