The Herman Trend Alert
June 27, 2018
Supporting Human Health
For years now, it has been obvious that our health system that typically treats people only after they become sick does not optimize health. Now, a new eBook from Aetna (2018 Healthcare Trends) confirms what we have long believed: "medical care is responsible for only ten percent of preventable mortality".
What makes a difference in prolonging life
Lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise determine 40 percent; social and environmental factors account for 20 percent; and genetics contributes 30 percent.
At 40 percent, lifestyle choices, things over which we generally have control, seem to make a huge difference. This category includes the food we eat, the exercise we make a priority (or don't), and the amount of nightly sleep we get.
Aetna's Worksite Wellness Program
Taking these insights a step further, Aetna's Worksite Wellness Program encourages participants to eat (at least) five fruits and/or vegetables a day, spend two hours or less of recreational screen time, spend at least one hour/day engaged physical activity, drink no sugary drinks, and more water, and finally, get eight hours of sleep.
Where you live makes a difference
Accounting for 20 percent, social and environmental factors include the home and city in which you live and your social support systems. For instance, where we live determines whether we are encouraged or discouraged from graduating from high school and people who graduate from high school, on average, live seven years longer.
Creating supportive communities
Community infrastructure and services also play roles in their people's health and wellbeing. Creating infrastructure by planting community gardens, eliminating deserts, availability of safe drinking water, and developing parks and outdoor spaces that encourage exercise and recreation is important to holistic health. In fact, the Aetna Foundation is a partner in "The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge", along with other key stakeholders. The challenge offers USD $1.5 million in prizes to communities for making significant changes to residents' well-being through community projects. There is also the factor of the services offered in the area, e.g., what is the availability of nutritional counseling, exercise programs and mindfulness activities, such as meditation and yoga.
What this information means for all of us
This research tells us that in reality, each of us controls the majority of our health destinies. Just as we have seen employers paying their workers to get and stay healthy, so will we see insurance companies continuing to penalize their customers who do not follow healthy living guidelines and reward those who do. At some point, some people will realize that they cannot afford to continue unhealthy habits; those who are too addicted to their unhealthy habits to change will find they can no longer afford to buy health insurance. Countries with national health insurance will find other ways to compensate people who take care of their health and punish people who do not keep themselves healthy.
To download the entire eBook, visit here.
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