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Fixin' Healthcare

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - NGA Healthy America Call to Action

The Healthy America Call to Action seeks to address the declining health status and increasing cost of health care caused by lack of physical activity and poor nutrition. A comprehensive strategy is needed to modify lifestyles throughout the community. This will be accomplished by consistent support of community commitment and personal responsibility. It is a long-term agenda.

"Although there is no single solution to this multi-faceted problem, governors can encourage wellness without becoming heavy-handed regulators. They can help build a culture of physical activity, prevention and wellness. They can promote healthy lifestyles and encourage healthy choices in homes, schools and workplaces. Statewide wellness is not a goal that governors can achieve single-handedly or within one term, one election cycle or even in a ten year period, but they can immediately begin to address it."

Promote Healthy Lifestyles and Personal Responsibility
Corporate health promotion and disease management programs produce a return on investment of $1.49 to $4.91 in benefits for every dollar spent.

Reduce Obesity
Weight loss of 5 to 10% reduces risk for disease, especially cardiovascular disease. A sustained weight loss of 10% accomplished by better nutrition and moderate physical activity can increase life expectancy and reduce an overweight person's medical costs by more than $5,000.

Improve Nutrition
Eating vegetables and fruit can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Five servings each day reduces cancer rates by 20%. People who eat eight or more servings daily are 30% less likely to have a heart atteck than those who eat less than 1.5 servings daily.

Increase Physical Acitvity
Overweight people can reduce the risk for developing diabetes by 60% with physical activity such as brisk walking for 30 minutes daily and losing 5 to 10% of body weight. It has been estimated that regular, moderate physical activity by inactive Americans may save as much as $77 billion per year in medical costs.

The information contained in this post is from a report to the Healthy America Forum prepared by Damon Thompson, Vice President, Lipman Hearne Inc., Washington DC and supported by resources from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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