It’s easy to take for granted the amazing scientific and medical accomplishments that have drastically increased the length and quality of the human lifespan in the last century, simply because some of the most beneficial accomplishments (like running water and sanitation) serve as a constant, quiet background in our daily lives.

We have time to go to the gym or yoga studio, we can shop at the local grocery store for quality, fresh produce, and we have a variety of treatment options for diseases that used to be terminal. These are luxuries most people couldn’t have imagined as recently as a century ago.

It was the 20th century, when the U.S. became the leader in developing and sustaining individual freedom, that allowed innovation to flourish, entrepreneurial spirit to skyrocket and a culture of ideas to emerge—all resulting in the tremendous increase in wealth and prosperity that we enjoy today.  In fact, through the last 30 years, the number of people living on a $1 a day has fallen by 80 percent because of the spread of freedom around the world.

When it comes to the makeup of a healthy life, about one-third of the factors are determined by personal behavior and decision-making. So when we think of health care, we should also be thinking of how can we take control of our health and lead a healthier life for our families and ourselves. And without freedom, it would be nearly impossible to lead the lives we do. Freedom lets us think and create. We can improve the methods of wellbeing that we’ve always used and replace them or compliment them with alternatives.

With increasing costs, regulations, and uncertainty in our everyday lives—especially our health care—it’s becoming more important than ever to be personally responsible for our lifestyles.

History and research tells us that there is a direct link between people’s quality of life and how much freedom they enjoy, and we’ve seen repeatedly that more freedom means higher quality of life. When Americans face obstacles like high costs and burdensome restrictions, our health and lifestyle is also threatened.

Fortunately, living and sustaining a healthy lifestyle is as simple as creating healthy habits and understanding the value of freedom, where people are able to pursue their own path to happiness, health, and success as they see fit.