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TEDMED: Get the Joy Back Into Health and Wellness

Surgeon General talks about importance of bringing joy back into movement and medicine

MONDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Regina Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., the 18th Surgeon General of the United States, led the stage presentation "Can Joy Be the Key That Unlocks the Puzzle?" at TEDMED 2013, held from April 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

Benjamin, whose job description includes providing the public with scientific information on how to improve their health, believes that providers and leaders in health care need to focus on messages that really reach people, making healthy choices more meaningful because of a true connection with people's needs. She stresses teaching people that movement and healthy living can be and should be enjoyable and life-enriching.

As part of her mission, in 2010, she released recommendations in The Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation. The recommendations focus on improving communities, creating healthy home environments, creating healthy child care settings and healthy schools, and mobilizing medical communities. Benjamin prioritizes modeling as a critical role for our nation's providers. According to the recommendations, "medical care providers must make it a priority to teach their patients about the importance of good health. Doctors and other health care providers are often the most trusted source of health information and are powerful role models for healthy lifestyle habits."

"Americans will be more likely to change their behavior if they have a meaningful reward -- something more than just reaching a certain weight or dress size. The real reward is invigorating, energizing, joyous health," Benjamin said in a prepared statement. "It is a level of health that allows people to embrace each day and live their lives to the fullest without disease or disability."

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