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Fixin' Healthcare

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Life, One Step At A Time

If asked to chose one thing that ranks first for healthy lifestyle, it would be physical activity. And, walking ranks first as the best way to begin and extend physical activity. Physical activity impacts metabolism in a positive manner in multiple ways. Consistent physical activity over an extended period of time usually influences stress, sleep and nutrition.

England has launched the National Step-o-meter Program by distributing 100,000 pedometers to adults across the country. Over 8,000 health professionals in primary health care trusts will be trained to help people get the most mileage by using their pedometers.

"Physical inactivity costs the National Health Service #1.7 billion annually excluding the treatment of disease brought on by obesity. Treating disease caused by obesity cost an additional #1 billion annually. Each pedometer cost #3." Of course, there are additional personnel costs but, if effective, the leverage is high.

Pedometers are intended to serve as motivators for physical activity. The trained health professionals may be better if they are good health coaches capable of inspirng people.

How much different from a drug benefit is that approach to health policy?

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