The Key to Affordable Health Care
When it comes to your car you know that regular maintenance like changing the oil and greasing the joints can prevent the need for major repairs. The numbers are now in that prove the same holds true for your body.
According to scientists there is a break-through therapy to lower the risk of developing common and deadly chronic diseases by about 80%. The therapy is called taking care of yourself, .It’s a break-thru because the research is validating what we all knew innately.
So, how do you take care of yourself? A 2009 study, involving over 23,000 Germans, shows just how fantastic the results of a healthy lifestyle can be. The cumulative effects of just four healthy factors: not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight, resulted in:
- An average of 36 % reduced risk of ALL cancers
- A 93 % reduced risk of diabetes
- An 81 % reduced risk of heart disease
- Average annual health care costs in Germany are about $4,000, and that is about half of US costs.
- Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, Aug 2009
Why don’t Americans live healthier lifestyles?
Sedentary lifestyle. In our nation’s early years we lived an active farming and hunting lifestyle. We had to move about physically every day to survive. Today we get very little physical activity as we move about by motor vehicle. Also we now spend hours a day sitting at a computer, game console or TV set.
Poor nutrition. We used to grow our own food or buy organic food grown locally.
Big Agra makes big money today by feeding us packaged foods typically made of unhealthy fats, sugars, and salt that keep us hungry for more.
Big Pharma spends $15 billion a year letting us know that medications (sometimes for life) are the best solutions to health challenges. They have led us to believe that pills are the answer to our health needs.
Big Medicine makes more money the sicker we are. There is little or no financial transparency or motivation for medical professionals to keep us healthy. That’s what fee-for-service is all about.
What about HMO’s? We know of one doctor who was fired for spending too much time counseling his patients. HMO’s haven’t been the solution either.
What can employers do given the typical American lifestyle?
- Install a group medical plan that promotes self care while covering crisis care.
- A high-deductible plan with a health savings account has worked for many employers.
- Install a HIPAA compliant voluntary incentive- based health promotion, disease prevention program. Par-ticipants pay less for their group medical benefits.
- Create a corporate culture that promotes health.
What can an outside vendor do?
- Health education Few schools teach classes in healthy lifestyle. We can now do that via the internet to reach anyone any where.
- Measure annual employee health risks A health risk assessment to include a worksite health screen lets people keep score on vital signs. Only aggregate results go to the employer.
- Track participation in online health education.. This enables an employer to offer meaningful incentives that will create awareness of what a healthy lifestyle is.
- Coaching Doctors are not trained in or compensated for keeping people well. Health educators are. What works is health coaching whether in person, via phone, or online. While an online service such as WellnessOnline can not do personal coaching, we partner with health care services that do. AND, we do offer the service of Ask A Coach.
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