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 Northeast can be divided into three different sections: The tourist cities and attractions, the deep woods of the upper Northeast, and, of course, the hustle and bustle of the big cities. But in all of these areas of the region, there is a population that is struggling to control its weight and not taking the appropriate measures to fix it.
According to recent CDC data, 25 percent of the population in the Northeast is obese. That’s at least one in four people in the Northeast with a health issue that can lead to heart disease, diabetes and a number of other preventable conditions. A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans uncovered that less than half of those surveyed in the Northeast (48 percent) had attempted to improve their eating habits in the last two years, and only 47 percent exercise routinely.
A Call for Change found that while 95 percent of those living in the Northeast said they believe 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, 71 percent said that out-of-pocket cost is the main reason they don’t seek prevention. And 52 percent said that a doctor’s recommendation is the main reason they would attempt to change their lifestyle, but only 26 percent of those in the Northeast gave themselves an A grade for their efforts to ensure a preventive lifestyle.
Perception vs. Preventive Action
According to A Call for Change, almost all of those living in the Northeast do feel preventive care is important for themselves (95 percent) and for their children (98 percent), yet only 33 percent have taken the preventive measure of discussing medical history and risk factors with their doctor. The statistics get worse from there. A Call for Change reported that only 22 percent of those in the Northeast have been screened for diabetes, only 17 percent have had cancer screenings (sadly, the highest percentage of all regions), only 33 percent have had a routine cholesterol check, and only 22 percent of women have had mammograms and 16 percent of men have had their prostates checked.
Opportunities for Providers to Engage Patients
A Call for Change found that in the Northeast, 83 percent of residents have visited a healthcare professional of some kind in the last two years, and the majority of them (73 percent) said their reason was for a routine checkup. This should be the time that doctors initiate a discussion about preventive lifestyle choices with their patients, including eating right, getting regular exercise, and obtaining proper tests and screenings.
Many of these screenings are covered by insurance policies, but many Americans are still unknowledgeable about what their insurance policy covers in terms of prevention (25 percent), which makes communicating with their doctors difficult when making decisions about what preventive steps to take. This leaves residents sick and overweight, as 47 percent of those in the Northeast admitted they’re currently treating a possibly preventive disease or chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, a heart problem, diabetes, or cancer, and 49 percent are on regularly-prescribed medication.