Are You Optimizing Your Health?
There is widespread agreement among those in the scientific and health care communities, that certain behaviors contribute greatly to preventable chronic disease, improve productivity and impact health. In 2000, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that four lifestyle-related behavioral risk factors accounted for approximately 40% of all deaths in the United States.
The optimal lifestyle metric (OLM), reflects adherence to these four positive health behaviors: not using tobacco, exercising at least 150 minutes per week, consuming at least five fruits and vegetable servings per day, and consuming 2 drinks per day or less for men, and 1 drink per day or less for women. Following any three components of the OLM was associated with less risk of new health issues, such as diabetes or back pain.
Not only will you be healthier over time if you adhere to the OLM guidelines, the costs for medical care fall by 4.7% for each additional day a week that you are physically active. Regular users of tobacco spend 18% more on health care compared to those who don’t use tobacco.
If the current health care bill being considered in the Senate is passed, your health care costs will go up and you will get less care for the money. That fact makes it even more important for you to take the necessary action to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Living to 100 really isn’t going to matter if, at that age, you are bedridden and unable to enjoy your life. We need to stay healthy so that when we turn 100, we’re able to dance at our own birthday celebration.
A study conducted by researchers at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, suggested that since healthier people tend to live longer, their medical costs were higher. That may be true, but the cost per year was far higher for obese people than their thinner counterparts up to age 56. The extra cost for healthier people was associated with “life years gained.” It’s better to live longer with fewer doctor’s visits, than spend your days visiting the doctor.