The Need for Wellness and Prevention

JUNE 2014.      This weekend I had the occasion to look at a 4 minute video clip on Upworthy.com relating to our health care system.  It was sad to say the least.  With over $2 trillion spent on basically disease management with no end in site to the rise in illness and chronic disease, it gets me (and others) to wonder when this madness will stop.  One piece in the clip was a brief interview with the former CEO of Cigna Health Insurance, where he states that “basically directors of large health care companies are beholden to their shareholders”  This is the state of healthcare.  Make money  for the company – but don’t heal the patient.   In fact, the entire system is geared to deal with illness through procedures.  One physician from the Cleveland Clinic lamented on the fact that if she can do a procedure such as a stent – she can earn $4,000.  If she spends 45 minutes with a patient drilling down as to the causes of their condition, she may make $15.00.  This is the paradox of our healthcare system.  At the root of this evil is the big pharma companies, who over the past 45 years would like to make everyone in the US a drug addict.  In the video they interviewed a soldier who at one time had a bag full of prescription drugs.  Probably around 40-50 bottles.  Is this anyway to treat ANY type of medical condition? (let alone one that is caused through the process of war).
  
In any case, with the pushes to vaccinate everyone, to drug everyone, to do surgeries on everyone, and to have everyone have some type of “syndrome”, we are at a breaking point.  The Prescription Drug Act and the “Affordable” Care Act are basically shell games to grant more purchasing power to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.  It may be the last gasp for dying industries.  More and more people are growing tired of having to get prescriptions for everything.  Each year there is more evidence in the health promotion literatures that proper exercise programs and sound nutrition and supplementation can avert many types of diseases, and “treat” many more.
 
Those of us in health promotion know this.  We’ve known it since we were in college studying the basics of physiology and nutrition and chemistry, and the light went on when we saw the correlation between specific lifestyle interventions and better health.  We actually knew this beforehand when we lived the lifestyle of sports and fitness and organic eating and we saw at our 15 year high school reunion the benefits of living that lifestyle vs. our hard drinking, over eating, and cigarette smoking classmates.  We knew intrinsically that what we were doing was the right thing for us, and wanted our academics to merely verify our choices.
 
Now we have one more lesson to bring to the table.  To convince those shareholders and board members that what we are doing will save money and make money for them.  Case in point – the health club industry in the US has been virtually recession-proof since the mid 1980s.  It has weathered many financial storms, and come out on top.  If we look to the over 30,000 health clubs in the US as a potential distribution center for health promotion, there may be some serious synergy for the investment community.  In fact, thousands of clubs already have medically-based programs, and the trade association Medical Fitness Association boasts more than 1,000 hospital based wellness centers to date.  The tide is changing.  We need to push harder and smarter to get our message to decision makers who need some of the basics regarding the benefits, and cost-benefits.  Time seems to be running out, but the opportunity is still there.  As the costs of health care continue to escalate - it make more and more sense.