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Interview: My Health Beijing's Dr. Richard Saint Cyr tells us why lifestyle choices are still the key to good health

Dr. Richard Saint Cyr of the International Medical Center launched [MyHealthBeijing.com](http://www.myhealthbeijing.com/), a blog that also serves as a discussion forum on expat health in Beijing. He tells us why lifestyle choices are still the key to good health. **So, why did you launch MyHealthBeijing.com?**
I’m a family doctor at one of the expat clinics, the International Medical Center Beijing. Over the last few years of working in the community, I sensed that there are common concerns in the expat community that revolve around air quality, food safety, gastroenteritis and bronchitis ... but there isn’t a good collection of medical information for expats. I wanted expats to have a website they could go to for good health information. **Is food safety a big concern for parents with young children?**
In general, the food quality is much better now. There’ve been food scandals over the last few years, but if people know what products to buy and where to buy them, they should be comfortable with that. I have many posts on food quality, how you should wash your vegetables—the stuff your ayis should know when they’re taking care of your kids ... There’s a food safety section on the site, where people can talk about green food versus organic food, big supermarkets versus the smaller local markets. **The most popular post on your website is about air pollution. What’s the best way to deal with the problem in our day to day lives? **
Cyclists should use masks.Not necessarily a proper cycling mask—a regular M95 mask would drastically cut down on particles. Studies show people in all urban environments, particularly cyclists and outdoor sports people, are affected by it. So, even if you think you are young and healthy, something is going on in your lungs. Damage is being done. **Is the air in a gym better than outside? **
Gyms in general have better air on most days, but I love the outdoors, so I think it’s a risk-benefit type of thing. The area around Beijing is fascinating—the mountains, the countryside. People should pay attention to the really bad days, and if they have small children, maybe they shouldn’t go out on those days. **If you could change one behavior of expats in Beijing, what would it be? **
The number one killer is still heart attacks and strokes from lifestyle habits. It all goes back to lifestyle choices. Giving up smoking is the number one thing anyone can do to improve one’s lifestyle. Many expats get into this “different world” mind set. They drink more, smoke more and don’t take care of themselves as well as they would back home. ###DETAILS You can contact Dr. Richard Saint Cyr through his blog, [MyHealthBeijing.com](http://www.myhealthbeijing.com/)

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