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!
There is a consistent idea that those living in the Western region of the U.S. are among the most active and health-conscious of all U.S. citizens. Obviously this can hold true in some cases, but it also can become a harmful crutch, as some use the illusion of regional health as an excuse for not taking all the preventive health measures necessary.
According to A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans, 51 percent of those living in the West are currently taking prescribed medication on a regular basis. This number is the second highest in the nation next to the South. Moreover, almost half of all Westerners surveyed, 44 percent, admitted that they are currently treating a disease or chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, a heart problem, diabetes or cancer.
The Need to Turn Awareness Into Action
Though A Call for Change found that most people living in the West do agree that prevention is important for themselves (94 percent) and for their children (98 percent), only 26 percent rated themselves with an A grade for their efforts to ensure a preventive lifestyle, such as screenings, healthy eating habits, exercise, dental care, and up-to-date medical history records. In fact, A Call for Change uncovered that only 32 percent of those in the West, the lowest percentage in the nation, have taken the preventive measure of discussing medical history and risk factors with their doctor. Other prevention gaps found showed just 26 percent have been screened for diabetes, only 14 percent have been screened for cancer, and only 34 percent have had a routine cholesterol check. The West was also tied with the South for the smallest number of women who have been screened for breast cancer — only 22 percent.
Is Cost a Factor in Preventive Care?
Though A Call for Change uncovered that 93 percent of those living in the West agreed that taking proper preventive care measures saves patients money and they believe it’s less expensive to prevent a serious condition or disease than it is to treat it, 77 percent of Westerners — the highest in the nation — agreed that out-of-pocket cost is the primary reason they decide whether or not to seek preventive care. And with 82 percent of those in the West having visited a healthcare professional of some kind in the last two years, as A Call for Change found, there is a lapse in the education given about the benefits of prevention. A Call for Change also found that 25 percent of Westerners still aren’t knowledgeable about what their insurance policy offers in terms of preventive care.