Global Health: Hopes and Resolutions for 2009

As 2009 kicks off, many people are trying to create changes in their lives. Whether it's large or small goals, serious or humorous ones, bloggers around the world are posting lists of their New Year's resolutions — and health-related wishes often top the list.

The U.K.-based mental health organization Mind says that some of these resolutions can be bad for your health, though. For example, self-improvement goals, like the need to lose weight, can create a negative self-image and lead to feelings of inadequacy and even mild depression. Still, this hasn't stopped many people from adding “losing weight” to their resolutions for 2009. Other health-related goals, such as quitting smoking and adapting a healthier lifestyle, are also among the most common resolutions.

Lilit Reye from the Philippines, blogging on Spring Roll, captures this sentiment in his ode to post-New Years:

“Gyms will be full starting next week.

Since almost everyone's resolution is related to better health,

with better wealth, as a wish.”

This is true for Munytang from Malaysia. Although he isn't big on making resolutions, he posted five ones for 2009 on his blog MunY – TangTangTang! Here's his health goal for this year:

“Take care of my health, this means eating right and have a fair amount of exercise.”

Losing weight and being more active are yearly resolutions for Braided Diva, an Aboriginal woman living in Canada. After much pondering she also adds a much simpler goal, one that will help her body, to this year's list:

“My New Year's Resolution for 2009 is simply to……PUT LOTION ON MY BODY EVERY DAMN DAY!

Simple enough I can do that. In fact I SHOULD have been for a long time. Of course I've always got an excuse on hand as to why I do not take that little bit of time after my daily shower. It's simple, slicking up the bod doesn't take much effort at all. And my skin will love me when this year is over. Not that my skin is intensely damaged, but it is winter and I do spend many hours in the warm cozy house. Those two combined make for some dry skin. And now as I sit and proof read, spell check this blog the thought comes to me….what kind of fricking self-called diva doesn't lotion up every day?”

Fassingpancy's list of resolutions for 2009 also predicts his chance of achieving the goal. Besides losing weight, he lists nine other wishes on his blog, Fassing Pancy’s Vocal Chimneys. Here's goal #7:

“Give Up Coffee – 2008 was my year for experiencing coffees from around the world; Africa, South America, Indonesia, Australia, India, Hawaii, Jamaica… Kenya AA was the best of them, with a lovely cherry aftertaste. However, for health reasons I’ll be giving up coffee. Not that I’ve got a problem, but I want to be healthier. Fruit teas here I come. ;)

Chance of Achievement: 85%”

Rather than avoiding beverages, Mr. R actually wants to consume more of a certain beverage this year, one that can boost his health – water. Blogging on Xpress Coffee, he states:

“Water is the only drink for a wise man:
Says, Henry David Thoreau. Well if water consumption is the yardstick of being wise, Damn it! I should be a fool! I survive with less water. Something in me says I better start drinking more! Am talking about pure H2O. I would like to see myself gulping down at least 8 cups of water a day.”

Alice Vosloo, blogging on Living life breathlessly, encourages people to make such New Year's resolutions. Living in South Africa and suffering from cystic fibrosis, she was waiting for a double lung transplant at this time last year. She says:

“This time last year however, I was SO uncertain about what was going to happen in 2008 (would I get lungs? would I survive the year? would I have my transplant in Florida? etc), so I just made 4 WILD New Years Resolutions/wishes… here they are:

1. Keep myself alive.
2. Get lungs.
3. Have fun.
4. Find love.

And they all came true… So the moral of the story? Go wild with New Years Resolutions, don't put a limit on your happiness or abilities and the power of prayer.”

Resolutions aren't just limited to personal goals though. Many bloggers are also advocating for health-related changes in their countries and communities. Country Doc, blogging on The Country Doc Report, lists New Year's resolutions to improve rural healthcare, while Pd, blogging on My Diary 2.0, posts 10 resolutions to change India, including this healthcare-related one:

“Let us ask the government to stop spending a fortune on defence equipments and satellites launch. We need not be the numero uno in these until and unless we ensure that the literacy rate of our country is high enough to beat other countries. Competitions can also be in this way round. People should have access to the basic amenities such as primary health care, education, food, clothing and shelters.”

Chikwe Ihekweazu, blogging on Nigeria Health Watch, says that 2008 was a tough year for Nigerian healthcare issues, but that there is hope for 2009. He asks:

“Can Professor Osotimehin [Nigeria's new minister of health] inspire Nigerians to take on their roles as leaders in primary health care centres, in our immunisation programmes, in our teaching hospitals?

Can we be inspired to believe again? To insist on quality? To do the bit we can?

Can 2009 turn out to be the year we celebrate a re-birth, a restoration of some pride and confidence in our health care system?…

…This is our prayer and hope for 2009.”

Photo of List of Resolutions by 60 in 3 on Flickr.


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