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HEALTH is very important, so let’s jump right into today’s lesson and talk about it


Are people worried about their health in your country?

Is access to healthcare easy for you and other people?

What do you think we should do to stay healthy?


Before you watch this video on Brazil’s healthcare system, predict the answer:

  1. Does the video suggest public healthcare is good in Brazil?

Now watch the video and check:

  1. Was your answer right?
  2. How can you tell (What did they say)?

Discuss the questions

Is it too expensive to treat poor people?

Is Bariatric Surgery (stomach shrinking surgery for the obese) part of a public health procedure in your country? Is this fair?




Read the following extract from an article on Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) and discuss. Does this contrast with your answers above?

Article by The Guardian’s Health Editor, Sarah Boseley: The UK needs to perform thousands more obesity operations, say surgeons


Reducing stomach size prevents people eating more than small amounts at a time, leading to dramatic weight loss. It can also reverse type 2 diabetes, which carries the risk of amputations, blindness, heart attacks and strokes.

France, with a population similar to that of Britain, carries out 37,000 obesity operations a year, compared with just 5,000 in the UK. Two countries with far smaller populations – Belgium and Sweden – perform 12,000 and 7,000 respectively, while Italy does 8,000.


It is a safe and cost-effective therapy for a deadly disease, according to bariatric surgeons speaking at an international conference in London. Yet the NHS is dragging its feet, they say.


“The UK data is overwhelming – surgery makes a difference to people’s health and we want commissioners to acknowledge this and act accordingly,” said Marco Adamo, a consultant surgeon at University College hospital and the chair of the National Bariatric Surgery Register, which records operations. “Severe and complex obesity is a serious, lifelong condition associated with many major medical conditions, the cost of which threatens to bankrupt the NHS.”


Bariatric surgery costs about £6,000 to £7,000 – only about a third of the cost of a knee replacement, a procedure which itself is often made necessary by obesity.


Prof Francesco Rubino, the chair of metabolic and bariatric surgery at King’s College London, said he used to think it was about cost. “But more recently I started to grow concerned that this may actually not be the real problem. The cost of bariatric surgery is very often offset by the health benefits, especially in diabetes, within a couple of years. Bariatric surgery is one of the most cost-effective interventions we have in modern medicine,” he said.


Instead, said Rubino, he thought it was about stigma and the judgments passed on obese people. “Looking at the science of obesity today, it is inconsistent with the evidence to conceive of obesity as a lifestyle choice,” he said. “It is not true that all patients who are obese are basically overeating.


“I would also submit that even if it were all about overeating – and I don’t believe it is the case – we don’t forgive obese patients for their poor lifestyle choices although we forgive those, such as smoking, that lead to cancer and transplant surgery.


“If we start taking the approach that disease associated with lifestyle choice should not be treated by surgical intervention, where are we going to draw the line? Pretty much every disease would have to be associated with lifestyle. I don’t think we should be here to judge.”


Idioms & Expressions

It’s time for some IDIOMS related to HEALTH.

Here are some for you to use in your next conversations:

  • He’s turning into a BAG OF BONES.
  • She’s always FULL OF BEANS in the morning.
  • It was a BITTER PILL for me to SWALLOW when she started dating him instead of me.

Explain what you think they mean

Now read the last 2 paragraphs of the epilogue to In Sickness and in Health, The Future of Medicine: Added Value & Global Access, Vrije Universiteit Brussel Press, 2009

Cradle to Grave incorporates evidence of the medicalization of ordinary life. We take pills to treat unhappiness, obesity, smoking addiction, to control natural events such as the menopause and these are important issues that our society needs to debate. Perhaps even more importantly, Cradle to Grave demonstrates our commitment to the medicalization of old age. As the body begins to fail, we turn to pharmaceutically active chemicals to preserve and extend life. We minimize the suffering of old age by medicating it. But this does raise questions on the earlier years when we are not considering long-term health, nor being concerned with health itself and only reacting to acute and crucial situations.


In the end we are asked to consider the deeply complex relationship we have with prescription drugs. They are both wonderful and dangerous. They allow us to live longer, they allow us to suffer less, but they may also offer false promises of happiness and health and immortality that they cannot possibly deliver. In this they are more like the spirits and gods of other cultures than we care to believe.


The extract above is talking about a certain debate we should have;

What exactly would this debate be about?




Write a paragraph in a formal style stating your opinion.

Discuss the question:

How do we know the medicine we buy is not going to harm our health?

Watch the video on ‘Pharmacopoeia’ and answer




Watch a movie whose theme is health and tell your teacher next class 5 words (expressions) you’ve learned.

Get some popcorn and have fun. Don’t stress over it if you don’t understand everything they say. It’s a treat to just sit down and listen to English for a while.

Until next time! 🙂



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