Beyond the Build

Community Service

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise?

This week, I attended the annual year-end dinner and board meeting of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank. The Surgeon General of the U.S., along with the president of the sixth district, spoke about a range of common threads affecting both.

Poor health leads to poor economics and good health can lead to good economics. I never thought of this in this way, but it made real sense.

Vice Admiral Adams ranged across several platforms and a call to action, but first he shared that today’s youngest generation of Americans have a lower life expectancy than every other living generation. This is huddled around childhood obesity, adult obesity, hypertension, physical inactivity and diabetes. On top of this, we have a generation or maybe two that will be affected forever by the opioid crisis, which he referred to as a defining moment in our history.

What can be done? It’s simple. We need to start open real discussion among ourselves, not stereotyping individuals suffering from these diseases, and to engage all aspects of the community, from the law to the religious and community leaders and, most importantly I would, say ourselves.

While the Federal Reserve’s system mandate is to maximize employment and work to stabilize prices, to me, there is so much more. Over the last few months, I have observed efforts to create discussions similar to this one, all in an effort to help provide better economics and therefore overall well-being.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.