The Luxury of Choice

The act of choosing is key to ‘lifestyle change’. Every individual has to take responsibility for these choices. No one but you can decide to start (or re-start) something. With more clarity on how health, wellness and lifestyle is connected, why is not everyone choosing to feel better?

STOP! When we read about lifestyle and change, it is implied that this is something everyone simply has to do – and therefore can do. It is not so simple. I feel this is a luxury decision. It is a fact often ignored when discussing lifestyle changes. Not everyone has the possibility to choose – really choose. We are so very fortunate that we are placed in such a dilemma.

Act to choose or choose to act

Interestingly enough, when placing the word ‘lifestyle choice’ into a search engine – you find reference to ‘Lifestyle disease‘ – i.e. the presence of illness and disease as a result of a ‘choice of lifestyle’ and it is directly linked to those living in ‘western’ societies – where an active choice is available on how to eat, exercise, sleep etc. The fact that many in the western world do not choose well – or know how – brings us right back to the beginning and the  World Health Organisation definition of health. Many do not feel good because of choices made or imposed. The luxury of choice is one we have. Many do not.

The Luxury of choice

In a developed society, with access to food, water, health facilities and technology – choice is actually something we have. We may not have access to time, status, fame and fortune – but we do have life basics available.

Hands with a few grains to illustrate hunger

Hunger is not a choice

Hunger is not a choice

A very large part of this worlds inhabitants do not have the luxury of choice – especially not when it comes to ‘what to eat’? It is simply a luxury ‘to eat’. Every day is a struggle to find basic needs such as food, and water. When understanding who the hungry are we also need to drill down and look at the specially vulnerable:

An estimated 146 million children in developing countries are underweight – the result of acute or chronic hunger (Source: The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 2009).  All too often, child hunger is inherited: up to 17 million children are born underweight annually, the result of inadequate nutrition before and during pregnancy.
via Who are the hungry? | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme – Fighting Hunger Worldwide.

When opening our eyes to this reality, the fact that we do have choice – and what a luxury this is – it makes us think again of why we fall prey to ‘illnesses’ we need not have. We are so very fortunate after all, right?

If you want more information about the work of aid organisations, and NGOs  – who work with people around the world with needs so much greater than ours – please find a list on the links page. (maybe you can decide to make a contribution. You can feel good – by doing good 🙂

World map in grains

Humanitarian workers

Many of my readers will already be well aware of this , because you already work directly with beneficiaries under challenging conditions. If you belong to this field focused group – your choices are also limited because of where you are based. But – access to lifestyle choices you do have with a little more planning. Under the “Do Good” section of the GOODista site you can find more information to assist you make choices based on living conditions, access etc.

Now that we are placed in this luxurious dilemma – what do you choose to do? Do you choose to act – or act to choose?

Mother and child


Useful links on UN and NGOs worldwide:

NGOs worldwide with links

UN organizations – with links

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