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Breakdowns in Preventative Health - What is it costing us and what can we do about it?

According to Forbes Magazine, poor health costs the economy in the U.S. more than half a trillion dollars per year. 39% of that amount ($227 billion) is from “loss of productivity”, which is employees missing work due to illness. Another $232 billion comes from medical treatment and drugs.

In Jeff Ruby’s article for BenefitsPro Magazine, he stated something profound and true: “Our ‘health care system’ is reactionary sick care, focusing on disease management with little importance placed on disease prevention.” The costs of poor health will finally go down when we learn to take preventative measures for our health rather than waiting until we are sick to do something about it.

The good news is there are several companies and organizations that are taking preventative services and products to a new level. They are focusing on nutrition, physical activity, education and alternative medicine, so we can ultimately take control of our health and be empowered to do so. Jeff Ruby’s article goes on to recommend the key lifestyle factors we can look at that are necessary to maintain health:

  • Nutrition: According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly half the causes of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes were associated with suboptimal dietary factors. Among the top nutritional mistakes we make are not eating enough vegetables and healthy fats, and eating too much salt and sugar.
  • Physical activity: It is recommended that we get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Over 80% of adults do not come close to that. Being active reduces obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It also improves mood and has an impact on mental health.
  • Staying in tune: listening to your body is huge to feel your best. Often times we work too much, don’t get adequate sleep, and then try to cover it up with caffeine. Instead, when we notice signs of fatigue and stress we should be resting an adequate amount and drinking plenty of water in order for the body to repair and rejuvenate.

These are just the basic but highly important things we can focus on every single day. You don’t need a huge plan. Too many people put unrealistic expectations on themselves, only to fail and then become discouraged. Just make intentional decisions towards better health each and every day, and it will add up toward better health in the long run. Our nation is “sick and tired”, and we can change that by taking steps towards preventative health.


“Now is the time for a health revolution” by Jeff Ruby

Forbes Magazine
Poor Health Costs Report