Today’s health care costs in the United States are a consequence of poor health. Poor health has cost consequences to organizations, industry and our economy. The impact of poor health on employers includes not only the medical and pharmacy costs but also costs from productivity losses. “As of 2012, 117 million Americans have one or more chronic illnesses, which account for 75% of all health care costs and 70% of deaths in the United States.”1,2
However, there is a light at the end of the health care cost crisis tunnel, and that is prevention. In fact, 96% of all Medicare dollars are spent on chronic conditions that have lifestyle health risk factors.3
Michael Roizen, M.D., Chair Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, has determined that there are five behaviors that mitigate chronic disease:
- walking 30 minutes a day,
- eating healthy,
- not smoking,
- having a waist size that is less than half of your height, and
- drinking alcohol only in moderation.
If an individual engages in these five behaviors, they typically spend 33% to 50% less on health care costs compared with people who have health risks. Currently, only 4% of Medicare beneficiaries possess these five health behaviors. If 75% of all Americans had these characteristics, more than $600 billion and perhaps up to $1 trillion per year could be saved.4,5,6,7
Be part of the movement to prevent the health risk factors that lead to chronic disease, to help us move from a reactive sick care system to a proactive health care system.
Here’s to More Good Years®!
- Shin-Yi Wu and Anthony Green, Projection of Chronic Illness Prevalence and Cost Inflation (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Health, 2000).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,“ Chronic Disease Overview,” 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/overview.htm
- Partnership for Solutions, Chronic Conditions: Making the Case for Ongoing Care (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2004).
- Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Ted Spiker, This Is Your Do-Over: The 7 Secrets to Losing Weight, Living Longer, and Getting a Second Chance at the Life You Want (New York, NY: Scribner, 2015), introduction, xxiii.
- Agneta Åkesson et al., “Low-Risk Diet and Lifestyle Habits in the Primary Prevention of Myocardial Infarction in Men: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 64 (13) (2014): 1,299–1,306.
- Andrea K. Chomistek et al., “Healthy Lifestyle in the Primordial Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Among Young Women,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 65 (1) (2015): 43–51.
- Meir J. Stampfer et al., “Primary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in Women through Diet and Lifestyle,” The New England Journal of Medicine 343 (2000): 16–22.