During the last 50 years we have seen increased terrorism, global warming, worldwide glacial melting, overpopulation, dwindling natural resources, medication consumed like candy, ADHD, AIDS, Hepatitis C, Prozac, an epidemic called welfare, morbid obesity, world hunger, and the list goes on. Why have all of these things occurred? Lack of responsibility.


The dictionary has many definitions for the word responsible. The first one fits what I feel I do as a doctor: “legally or ethically accountable for the welfare of another.” When I graduated from Chiropractic College, I swore an oath to be responsible for anyone who seeks my care, and I feel I have never violated that oath.

There are two other definitions that fit how I act in my personal life and how others, if responsible, should act. 1) Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority. 2) Capable of making moral or rational decisions on one’s own, therefore answerable for one’s behavior.

The reason I’m bringing this up now is because the word responsible has been, I feel, losing its meaning over the past ten or more years. I have been noticing the effects of this in my practice and in my surroundings for some time now.

Today, I feel, most people who are experiencing health related problems are either doing nothing (no responsibility) or are placing total responsibility on the doctor, whether it’s getting their health back or maintaining it at a certain level.

Examples: If you have high this or low that, take a pill. If it’s clogged, send in Roto Rooter. If it’s too fast or too slow, take another pill. If you think there may be a problem now or in the future but aren’t sure yet, take a pill just to be on the safe side.

This complacent attitude our culture has developed is extremely dangerous and has accounted for hundreds of thousands of needless deaths, hospitalizations, and billions of dollars a year spent on medications. Medications only treat symptoms, while masking the underlying condition or disease state.

Geneticists (doctors who study and research our genetic makeup, DNA, etc…) state that we reach our genetic potential around 30-35 years of age. This means that we are as good as we are ever going to be at that age. After that, our bodies start to deteriorate.

Some of us go through this process very slowly; others quite rapidly. The rate of this deterioration depends slightly on genetics, predominately on RESPONSIBILITY! It’s not the responsibility of doctors, family, friends, Richard Simons or Jenny Craig. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

Responsibility or the taking of responsibility for your health has four components: first, there is EDUCATION. Educate yourself on diet, anatomy, exercise, health or anything that may benefit you in living longer and healthier. Second is NUTRITION. Eat to support every cell in your body, not just for the taste or because it’s a good deal. Third is EXERCISE. If you don’t move it or use it, you will lose it! Nothing can be truer. The surest way to get osteoporosis, arthritis, sore joints, weak muscles and tendons or a slow metabolism is don’t exercise. Fourth is CHANGING YOUR ENVIRONMENT. If you’re some place that you don’t want to be because it’s not aesthetically pleasing, the people are negative toward you or unethical behavior is occurring, etc., get out!

These four components when not actively followed have been proven to weaken our immune system by placing undo negative stress on us.

The four components for taking responsibility of your health may seem obvious to some, and to others may seem as foreign as learning Chinese. For those of you who are acting responsibly toward your health, I validate your effort. For those of you who believe your body will run forever without any needed adjustment to your present condition or believe that all those aches and pains, stiffness, inability to eat the foods you did when you were younger, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and increased weight are just signs of getting older and that it’s inevitable, you are wrong or just misinformed.

Poor health = irresponsibility. You, yourself, have personally created this condition by lack of following the above four components to health.

It’s not to late too change your present condition. Recognizing that a problem exists, and also recognizing that a positive change needs to occur is all that is required.

P.S. RESPONSIBLE and RESPONSIBILITY are two words, I feel, need to have some serious attention paid to them. Our culture has lost personal accountability for everything – IT’S NOT MY FAULT! These four words are destroying our civilization, morally, ethically, spiritually and physically. If each one of us would take responsibility for our own little universe, the impact this would have on the bigger picture would be more significant than can be imagined. Don’t just think about this, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Thank you for reading my commentary.


Dr. Marcus S. Ettinger DC, BSc.

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Thank you Dr Ettinger. Someone, and it’s great that someone from a position of authority, needed to say something about personal responsibility. The fact that the majority of people in the ‘western world’ will not accept that their health is on their shoulders, however, is something that needs to be addressed also from another perspective. Remember, the generations currently seeking medical help have been TAUGHT that Dr.s are tantamount to GOD. The re-education needs to be there also. Part of the problem/solution is getting out the information that Dr.s are only ‘practicing’, that they don’t have answers, and that thereby it is the responsibility of the patient to push until there is an understanding of what must be done. There is a whole lot more than just telling a person that it is their responsibility, because the average “joe” thinks he IS being responsible by going to the DR. Those who have an understanding that the Dr. isn’t ALMIGHTY have an uphill battle trying to educate because the fight then goes into fighting the gov., the AMA, the pharmacuetical companies, etc.
    The education needs to begin by convincing, thru proof, that what we need is better nutrition, (which the ‘little guy) is hard put to come by. I think that if people could start eating healthier that would be a big start. If they felt better because of better nutrition I think the exercise would naturally follow behind.
    In short, there is no one answer that is going to be easy. Yes, in a nutshell, it is the responsibility of the individual.

    I just get so frustrated, I personally, have been changing my diet and excercise routines. But I know that nutrition is not to be found in the foods in our grocery stores, and I can’t afford to go all organic. Supplements are recommended for only so much, and on and on.

    What really needs to be, so as to accomplish the personal accountibility, is to change each individuals viewpoint on some key spiritual matters. How is that accomplished?

  2. Q: What really needs to be, so as to accomplish the personal accountability, is to change each individual’s viewpoint on some key spiritual matters. How is that accomplished?

    A: There are two things we are never to do in our interactions with others: We are never to evaluate for another and we are never to invalidate another. What viewpoint an individual possesses is true to them, good, bad or indifferent, either due to knowledge of or ignorance of the facts.

    If we feel we know the truth based on facts, faith or even ignorance, it is not right for us to pass judgment or make them wrong. We may give the individual material to study, give a personal testimonial and so on then let the individual cognite to the truth, if that is the truth for them. If it is not the truth for them then so be it. We do not possess the power of ultimate truth so we are incapable of being truly qualified to judge and as such, we are in no position to invalidate anybody.

    There is a law in the area of learning and teaching and it goes like this: “You can’t teach an individual who doesn’t want to learn or who thinks he knows everything.”

    Most people I have met, when it comes to their faith or spirituality, do not want to learn something new or change. It is because of the above law. So to answer your question, “through education and only if the individual is willing to listen with an objective mind.”

    Marcus Ettinger DC, BSc. 

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