Acting Surgeon General Rear Adm. Boris D. Lushniak says society should go back to walking. "Think about it as a patriotic duty for the good of our nation." (Meena Ganesan/Washington Post Live)

Acting Surgeon General Rear Adm. Boris D. Lushniak at The Washington Post’s Health Beyond Health Care forum June 18. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post)

“This nation does incredible things once you have a disease. We have incredible pharmaceutical agents, we have incredible surgeries and operations, we have devices we can implant. But in fact that’s not health care, that’s sick care.

“I think we’re on the cusp of actually taking health and wellness seriously. I think for the longest time it’s been on the back burner. The time is right, right now. We have to treat health as a natural resource. We have to put it up on the same level as the economy. When the economy goes sour, all of sudden there’s reaction. There’s the sense of somebody has to do something if the economy is bad. Guess what, folks? The economy doesn’t do anything without a healthy workforce. It doesn’t do anything without healthy people.

“Let’s go retro, okay? We used to walk as a society. Walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Think of it as a patriotic duty for the good of our nation. Let’s start cooking again. Let’s use fresh products. You know what a joy both those activities are? The definition of health from the perspective of the World Health Organization is complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. If you take that definition, you realize what an obligation all of us have.”

-Rear Adm. Boris Lushniak, acting U.S. surgeon general

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