When thinking about what to get Dad this Father's Day, look towards the future of many more Father's Days to come and get him the gift of good health. A recent study released by Reuters showed that one in five Americans postpone receiving health care, with male patients making up the majority. The number one reason cited for postponing health care was costs of treatment, with many unemployed and seniors being unable to afford proper health insurance coverage. But skipping much needed health care can have drastic results. Many doctors are now reporting that those patients who do show up for appointments have more severe problems due to their delay. While Dad may think he is saving money by cutting preventative services and check-ups out of the budget, delaying these important tools to stay well can actually cause a pile-up of sequential events, according to the American Public Health Association (APHA). During their 129th annual meeting, members of the APHA gave a report using two case studies to demonstrate how delaying health care causes the need for additional more costly health services such as hospitalization, emergency room visits, rehabilitation and mental health services. But these were simply the short-term costs. In the long term, such delays created a more dependent daily life, as Dad may find himself unable to participate in work, school, leisure and home life roles, and require increased dependence on family members for personal assistance. While it is important to seek medical assistance immediately at the onset of new symptoms, preventative medicine can actually be the most cost-effective way to assure a long and healthy life. While research has conclusively shown that services rendered before there is a significant problem are the most effective treatments for diseases with a strong hereditary connection, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, our society still waits until the onset before we seek help. Preventing the progression of an illness not only saves money, but can be a comforting event. For example, many patients may think of massage only for times of relaxation. But did you know that every massage therapist in the State of Maryland is licensed to treat a range of skeleto-muscular conditions that can decrease and prevent the need for costly, painful back, hip and knee surgeries? Meditation is viewed by the public as a relaxing way to calm the mind and reduce stress, but studies show meditation also has phenomenal affects on reducing blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health the number one killer of men in America. In 2003, the World Health Organization published an analysis study on controlled clinical trials that showed acupuncture has been proven to be beneficial in treating over 25 common diseases and disorders. The analysis stated that smaller studies confirmed acupuncture was also beneficial for an additional 70 conditions, for which additional studies were underway. What better way to tell Dad you value him than to give him the gift of health?