How the Environment Impacts Our Health Today

  • Ted Schettler says a walk may not cure a stomach ache, but could help improve other conditions. Photo: Peter Rawsthorne via Flickr/ Creative Commons

October 18, 2013

The way Americans get sick today is different than 25 years ago. According to Dr. Ted Schettler, there’s more long term, chronic illness, such as diabetes and obesity, and he says it comes from a diversity of causes. Schettler is speaking at the Environment and Health Conference in Pittsburgh on October 25. He wants western medicine to start considering how ecological degradation is affecting people’s health.

Schettler says when you consider that children with Attention Deficit Disorders get as much benefit from being in nature as they do from drugs, and that regular walks can reduce the incidence of long term, chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases in adults, that we shouldn’t underestimate the healing power of the natural world.

Schettler says individuals can make good choices to use the environment to benefit their health—by exercising, and eating foods that are not processed or laden with pesticides.  But some choices by the larger society also impact health. He says Pennsylvanians, in particular, should pay attention to the air and water pollution that results from hydraulic fracturing, and what that might mean for personal and public health.

Listen to the full interview by clicking on the audio player.