I addressed the National Association of Children’s Hospitals just when President Obama’s healthcare bill was signed into law. I began by saying it didn’t matter whether it was the government or private insurers paying the bill because the current system was dysfunctional and would bankrupt us.

The current interventional model, that requires people to get sick and diagnosed before they get treated (and doctors get paid), must change to a model based on prevention.

We are looking at epidemic obesity among children in this country, and it will result in an enormous increase of early onset diabetes. This increase will be more pronounced among African-American children who may be predisposed to it, and especially the poor whose diets are loaded with cheap processed foods because supermarkets offering healthier choices don’t want to come into the neighborhood.

We will see an epidemic rise in mental disorders because the new psychiatric diagnostic manual (DSM V) now defines unacceptable behaviors as diseases. The astounding rise in the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD over the last decade, we will now be mirrored by new “diseases” like eating too much (binge eating disorder), laughing or crying too much (involuntary emotional expressive disorder). The treatment of which, will be expensive drugs whose long-term effects on children are unknown.

Here’s a paradigm shifting health prevention model that can be immediately implemented:

1. If your kids are acting up, unfocused, undisciplined, and unresponsive, learn how to set limits and enforce them. Teach your children that there are consequences to their actions; if you don’t pick up the dog poo in the yard (all of it) then you’re not going out to play; if you continue to act irresponsibly your cell phone’s gone, etc. Limit setting is an ego-corrective experience; create the boundaries and then stick to them.

2. Stop bullshitting your children; not everything they do is exceptional, praiseworthy, incredibly wonderful, and deserving over-the-top accolades and rewards, because in the real world the “little princess” or the “big guy” is going to have to really perform.

3. Restore the dinner meal to a family ritual; sit down together, eat healthy food, talk to each other realistically about what’s important in your life, your values, your dreams.

And here’s a shift for children’s hospitals:

1. Cafeterias have got to stop serving cheeseburgers and waffle fries, and be an example of nutritional health.

2. Get into the community; provide healthcare education in schools, community centers, churches, barbershops, and wherever people gather. .

3. Talk to children in their language…get on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and build a network that teaches them how to become the principal agents in maintaining their health.

4. Invite students into your facilities to see what you do and use the facility as a meeting place for education and recreation.

There is so much poo around (lots of it of our own creation), let’s stop wallowing in it and pick it up before it drowns us.

P.S. Register for Creating Healing Ceremonies workshop May 21-23, 2010 while early discount rates still apply. (www.healingdoc.com)