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Front Page » October 31, 2006 » Local News » Price garners statewide healthy work site award
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Price garners statewide healthy work site award


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By C.J. MCMANUS
Sun Advocate reporter

For the second consecutive year, Price city has garnered the statewide healthy work site award.

"An ounce of health is worth a pound of health care," said Ron Brewer, chairman of the city's wellness committee at the Price council meeting on Oct. 25.

Brewer presented the council with the 2006 award from the Utah Council of Work Site statewide health promotion.

Following the presentation, Brewer detailed statistics involving health care in the United States. The data included:

•The nation's per capita national health care spending has increased by nearly 80 percent in the last 10 years.

To put the figure in perspective, the U.S. spends one-half a trillion dollars per year on national defense programs. By comparison, the nation is spending $2 trillion dollars annually on health care, that amounts to $5.5 billion per day.

Financial analysts estimate that, by the year 2015, one in every five U.S. dollars will be spent on health care for a total of $4 trillion dollars annually.

To further put that in perspective; one million seconds is 12 days, one billion seconds is 32 years and one trillion seconds in 320 centuries.

According to Brewer's report at the Price city council meeting, the top three reasons that health care costs are climbing so rapidly are advancing medical technology, an aging population and a nationwide unhealthy lifestyle.

•The U.S. population ages 65 and older is expected to double within the next 25 years.

By 2030, nearly one out of every five Americans or some 72 million people will be 65 or older.

Compounding health care costs, the 85 and older age group is now the fastest growing segment of the nation's population.

A 65-year-old couple retiring today would need on average $200,000 to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses.

The figure does not include over-the-counter medications, dental exams and treatment or long-term care in a nursing home.

•Health care cost increase with not only age but other risk factors.

If the United States can reduce the risk factors, the nation can help reduce health care costs, noted Brewer.

He pinpointed the risk factors Americans nationwide and Carbon County residents can change as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, physical inactivity and obesity.

•The nationwide health statistics indicate that approximately one in four American adults have a cardiovascular condition.

The cardiovascular conditions can lead to heart disease and stroke .

Heart disease and stroke account for 41 percent of the total deaths in Utah.

•Sixteen percent of the nation's children are overweight. Six million of the youth in the U.S. are seriously overweight.

Nationwide statistics indicate that American adults are no better, with a reported 65 percent of the total population overweight and nearly one-third of considered obese.

•Twenty-one million Americans have diabetes.

The disease kills nearly one-quarter of one million U.S. citizens yearly.

Additionally 50,000 diabetes related amputations are performed each year.

The bright side of all the statistics, according to Brewer, is the fact that the majority of the conditions and the cost of health care can be avoided by controlling high risk factors.

For example, good nutrition and exercise will lower the risk of: obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and stroke.

"A healthy lifestyle including physical activity is powerful medicine," said Brewer.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona calls for an increased focus on prevention nationwide.

"The United States will continue to face a health care crisis without an increased focus on prevention. The United States currently spends 16 percent of the gross domestic product on health care and most everything we spend our money on is preventable," pointed out Carmona.

The national report further states that heart disease could be reduced by as much as 80 percent, the stroke rate could decreased dramatically and 61 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented if Americans stopped smoking, exercise more, ate healthier foods and scheduled recommended cancer screening.

Brewer told that council that city employers can moderate medical related costs through effective health management practices. As health risk factors increase, so does preventable disease.

"Practicing a healthy lifestyle is increasingly important. If you keep doing what you always did, you will always get what you always got," concluded Brewer.



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