Top Ten Healthy Gifts for the Holidays

Happy Black Friday to all of our readers.  Before you head out to the stores this morning to buy the perfect presents for your loved ones, why not consider giving the greatest gift of all – health.

“Health truly is the gift that keeps on giving,” says James Rohack, past-president of the American Medical Association.

With disposable income more scarce than ever this year, giving practical gifts is in vogue. And what could be more useful than a well-woman exam, or a gym membership?

Here’s SRxA’s Word on Health’s 10 suggestions to help make 2011 gift-giving a little healthier:

1. Be a Tooth Fairy. We’re not suggesting you add free root canals to your Christmas stockings, but since dental coverage is either limited or non-existent for so many people, a tooth cleaning could make a great gift for anyone who’s been putting off getting dental care because of cost. Most dentists offer gift certificates. A  $50 certificate might get you a basic cleaning, and for a little more you could give a professional whitening treatment.

If you’re buying for kids, consider a cool toothbrush such as Tooth Tunes Musical Toothbrush or a fun Spinbrush. For grown-up gadget fans, a high-end electric toothbrush or flosser can be a great present.

2. Office Visits. With almost 50 million Americans lacking health insurance and skyrocketing co-pays and deductibles, a pre-paid visit to the doctor’s office or a drug-store gift card for someone who has high pharmaceutical bills makes a useful present.

These may be especially appropriate for young, single women. National Center for Health Statistics data show that unmarried women ages 25 to 64 were more likely to be uninsured than married with in the same age group.

3. Fancy Foods. Organic fruits and vegetables are often pricey and end up being one of the first things to be cut from the family budget when times are tight. Even non-organic fruit can seem expensive these days, so consider a monthly shipment of produce or other healthy treats. Visit on-line sites such as or check with a local organic farm.

4. Fit Club.  Splurge for a friend or family member who enjoys working out. If they are already a member or if a full years gym membership is beyond your means, how about a gift certificate for a personal-training session?

5. Yoga Stuff. Is there a better gift than inner peace?  Yoga helps with stress, flexibility and blood flow. “It’s one of those forms of exercise that not only works your body but works your mind, works your soul, your spirit,” says yoga instructor Peter Sterios. Buy the yoga lover in your life some great gear, a fabulous mat or a gift certificate for classes at a local yoga studio.

6. A Rub Down.  After a workout, or a stressful day, a massage can go a long way to making you feel better. To find a massage therapist who meets all state or local licensing requirements, visit:

7. Exercise Gear. Good shoes are a runner’s best friend, but they’re expensive. And it’s not just about fashion. If you don’t have good foot support, then you wind up getting foot injuries, and then your motivation to get healthy is limited. So don’t let your favorite amateur athlete work out in worn-out gear. Buy them a gift certificate to a good sports supply store.

8. Health Monitoring Gadgets. While buying someone a bathroom scale might be a bit insulting, high-tech at-home self-test kits such as a blood-pressure monitor could be just the ticket. Eighty million Americans have high blood pressure, and only a third of them have it under control.

9. Pick Up the Check. Most restaurants now offer healthy options. One way to find good spots: the National Restaurant Association‘s (NRA) partner site, According to the NRA, 77% percent of consumers say they would like to receive a restaurant gift card.

10. Good-For-You Reads. Skip the fads and invest in books like the American Medical Association’s “Complete Guide to Prevention and Wellness,” the American Pediatric Association’s “Caring for Your Baby and Young Child” ; “The Pill Book: An Illustrated Guide to the Most-Prescribed Drugs in the United States.or even the hard-core Merck Manual.

Happy Shopping!