I want to start off my blogging experience by addressing the annual cost of just six of the most preventable conditions. Evidence exists that lifestyle modification can reduce the incidence of these illnesses, which in turn can decrease their cost. This topic may only be of interest to those that care for understanding the economic burden, though these numbers are large enough to catch the attention of anyone.
The estimated figures used for these conditions were found through various research articles or public announcements and their references have been provided. They include direct healthcare cost and indirect cost from loss of productivity, which resulted from the illness. I utilized the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI Inflation Calculator (1) to account for inflation and bring these values to the equivalent of the 2014 US dollar.
Combined cost of only these six conditions gives a total annual price tag of over $1 trillion. Yes, some of these conditions may have some overlap, such as obesity and diabetes; however, this overall estimate excludes various other preventable costs. Including, but not limited to, worksite injury, osteoarthritis, and joint replacements.
These figures should highlight the importance of incorporating a preventative lifestyle in order to reduce the financial burden. A number of things need to occur in order for change to happen. Individuals need to be educated more on the importance of nutrition, physical activity, balance, coordination, and proper body mechanics. Insurance companies need to expand reimbursements for preventative treatments, especially for programs that can be run by licensed physical therapists. But most importantly, individuals need to realize that insurance will not always pay for necessary professional care.
- Patrick Berner, SPT