This Doctor Does Not Want To See You

June 10, 2009
by Alice Park
Time Magazine

As the cost of health care continues to climb (60% of U.S. bankruptcies in 2007 were due to medical costs), the health of our nation is not getting any better. Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of Americans (as it has been for all but a few years since 1900), our collective waistline continues to bulge, diabetes rates march ever higher, and after steadily declining in recent decades, the smoking rate among high schoolers is leveling off. The U.S. boasts the best cutting-edge medicine in the world, yet 75% of our health-care costs are attributable to chronic, preventable diseases. In all, about 40% of premature deaths in the U.S. are caused by lifestyle choices - smoking, poor eating and inactivity.

It's just this kind of data that prevention champions hope will be enough to finally change our reimbursement system as a whole to cover programs like Lifestyle 180. And those advocates now include a majority of consumers as well: in a recent survey by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 76% of Americans said they support an increase in funding for prevention programs.

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