NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans”, which highlights the fact that too many Americans are not adopting preventive care and lifestyle changes due to perceived high cost. Download it HERE!
The heart of America has found itself declining rapidly in terms of preventive healthcare in the last few decades. According to the CDC, every state in the Midwest self-reported having between 25% and 30% of the population overweight.
This is not surprising, however, as according to A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans, the Midwest reported the least amount of people who said they’ve tried to exercise routinely, or at least three times a week (46 percent), while also reporting the least amount of people who have attempted to improve their eating habits or incorporate more nutritious foods into their meals (47 percent). And though A Call for Change found that 94 percent of those surveyed in the Midwest said they feel preventive care is important for themselves, and 96 percent said it’s important for their children, 48 percent (the highest out of all regions) admitted that they’re currently treating a disease or chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, a heart problem, diabetes or cancer. And 54 percent of the population in the Midwest, also the highest out of all regions, are currently taking regularly-prescribed medications.
Hesitation Around Prevention
According to recent CDC data, when it comes to obesity, the Midwest is second from the bottom, squeaking by with 29 percent of its population overweight, compared with the worst region, the South, at 29.5 percent. A Call for Change uncovered that only 29 percent of the population has been screened for diabetes and only 32 percent have been checked for high cholesterol — all direct conditions related to obesity. And though 50 percent of those in the Midwest feel a doctor’s recommendation is the number one reason to seek prevention, few have taken the preventive measure of discussing their medical history and risk factors with their doctors (33 percent). According to A Call for Change, the Midwest also reported just 12 percent of men were screened for prostate cancer, the lowest of all regions in the nation.
What’s Causing It?
Prevention in the Midwest is in a weak state and must be strengthened to ensure a healthy future for everyone in this region. Part of the problem A Call for Change found is that, even though 92 percent of Midwesterners agreed that taking proper preventive care measures saves patients money and think it is less expensive to prevent a serious condition or disease than it is to treat it, 73 percent also said that out-of-pocket cost is the primary reason they decide whether or not to seek preventive care. The affordability, or lack thereof, is what is driving Midwesterners away from a healthier lifestyle. A Call for Change found that only 22 percent gave themselves an A grade in their efforts to maintain a preventive lifestyle. This percent, unsurprisingly, tied with the South as the lowest out of all regions.