Look to science-based evidence for better health in 2022 | Mahoney – Tallahassee Democrat

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As we transition into 2022, the importance of focusing on science-based evidence in relation to our own health needs to be a primary concern.
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions to improve ourselves in one way or another.
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Why not make the effort to improve our own individual health through following proven practices with regards to public health based on science. Making a proactive effort can lead to a better quality of life through focusing on living a healthy lifestyle.
As a retired public health specialist my own journey through life has allowed me to see and experience a myriad of experiences in health care both domestically as well as in the international arena.
Working as a supervising dietitian within Florida’s largest psychiatric care facility to focusing on the health care needs of correctional personnel as a health care specialist has been challenging but rewarding.
The ability to reach people to provide training/education as well as direct care services in health and wellness has been a unique opportunity.   
Serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural public health in Latin America to working with an international not-for profit, Project ORBIS as a primary eye care specialist has given me the opportunity to see the importance of focusing on prevention (to the extent possible) as well as early intervention. Whether it’s with appropriate dietary intake for children’s growth to helping protect one’s eyesight through early intervention strategies.
Obviously, there are many obstacles we face to live a healthier life. The point here is that we can base our decisions on science-based evidence and best practices in public health and use these as guiding principles for improving our lives.
In past years my columns around the New Year have focused on the importance of living a more active lifestyle as well as emphasizing the role of good nutrition practices. There are so many good resources available based on evidence that can assist us to be healthier individuals if we just educate ourselves and become proactive advocates through our own actions.
Over the past two years the COVID-19 pandemic has lead to more than 800.000 deaths in the U.S. as well as over 5 million worldwide.  And almost 283 million total cases (as of Dec. 28).  The consequences of these infections have been truly astonishing.
Not only deaths and hospitalizations have occurred but detrimental effects on increased stress levels, emotional and physical health as well as economic losses has been widespread 
In the U.S., the rapid development of vaccines as well as other science-based preventive measure had made it possible for many individuals to avoid contracting the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, the refusal of a significant portion of the population to not opt to get vaccinated has led to a significant increase in the numbers of those being hospitalized and others dying.
As we begin 2022 my wish would be that individuals look to science as the route to a better, healthier population — whether that be to avoid the potentially lethal effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus or by proactively acting to achieve a healthier lifestyle in the physical and mental health areas.
Some education/information resources are provided at the end of the column focusing on actions you can take toward achieving a healthier lifestyle. Information that comes from a valid source is something we need now more than ever in the information age.
Best wishes for a more knowledgeable and proactive 2022!
A good resource for education about COVID-19 is available through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provides evidence-based guidance to help Americans maintain or improve their health through physical activity. Go to
The Executive Summary of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans can be accessed at:
A compilation of mental health topics is available through the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) at nimh.nih.gov/health/topics.
Mark A. Mahoney, Ph.D. has been a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for over 30 years and completed graduate studies in Nutrition & Public Health at Columbia University. He can be reached at marqos69@hotmail.com.
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