Dr. Tweedy grew up with relatively poor dietary habits that continued into his young adult life. He was able to change his behavior, habits, and attitudes towards exercising and eating right that ultimately led to his healthier lifestyle that reduced his potential of getting high blood pressure related issues. He was very privileged that he was able to control his health in such a way because for many Americans this is a challenge that they may not overcome. The odds are stacked against them even more so if they are uninsured and poor.
“I stood before them face-to-face with my family’s past and perhaps my own future”
This quote from page 73, really highlighted how much of people’s health outcomes are not completely determined by individual choices but are very influenced by income, occupation (and whether it offered health care), race, and gender. Everyone is a product of their choices, but we do not determine the choices that are given to us. How is he able to trace a history of high blood pressure and hypertension? There are structural inequities in place that allow and permit systematic oppression that leads to effects that last generations and will continue to do so unless something changes.
Reading about how a doctor can be just as unhealthy as a non-medical professional is really humbling. Often I think of people with medical degrees would be at peak health but it also sounds like they have no time to obtain health themselves in terms of their diet, sleep, and mental health as they are in medical school and training. There is this irony that those who work to keep us healthy are often burnt out and spread thin according to Dr. Tweedy’s book.