Prevention or Cure; A Cautionary Tale

"Most all of the health problems underlying the leading causes of death
in the United States could be modified by improvements in diet."

~ Dr. C. Edith Weir, Assistant Director, Human Nutrition Research Division,
Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

T'was a dangerous cliff as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its edge was so pleasant.
But over its edge had slipped a Duke,
A bishop, and many a peasant.

The people said, "Something would have to be done,"
But their projects did not at all tally.

Some said, "Put a fence around the edge of the cliff,"
Others, "An ambulance down in the valley."

The Lament of the crowd was profound and loud,
As their hearts overflowed with pity.
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
And it spread through the neighboring city.

So a collection was made to accumulate aid,
And dwellers in highway and alley,
Gave dollars and cents, not to furnish a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.

"For the cliff is alright if you’re careful," they said,
"And if folks ever slip and are falling,
It’s not the slipping and falling that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they’re stopping."

And so, day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would the rescuers sally,
To pick up the victims who fell from the cliff

With the ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked, "It's a marvel to me
That you'd give so much greater attention
To repairing results than to curing the cause;
Why, you’d much better aim at prevention.

For the mischief of course should be stopped at its source;
Come neighbors and friends, let us rally.
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley."

"He’s wrong in his head," the majority said.
"He would end all our earnest endeavors.
He would cancel all charities, too, if he could
No, no, we'll support them forever!

Aren't we picking up all just as fast as they fall,
And giving them care liberally?
Why a superfluous fence is of no consequence,
If the ambulance works in the valley."

This story, so old, has been beautifully told,
How folks with best of intentions,
Have wasted their years and lavished their tears
On treatment, with naught for prevention.

But a sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear such nonsense much longer.
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be the stronger.

Encourage them, then, with your purse, voice, and pen,
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense and put up a fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.

~ Anonymous

"One of the biggest tragedies of human civilization is the precedence of chemical therapy over nutrition. It's a substitution of artificial therapy over natural, of poisons over food, in which we are feeding people poison in trying to correct the reactions of starvation."
~ Dr. Royal Lee