They are right. If we are to control the cost of treating preventable illnesses, our nation’s health care policies must focus on preserving health. This requires a commitment by Congress and the administration to realign the health care delivery system, to promote programs that prevent disease and to create encouragements and incentives for Americans to engage in healthy lifestyles — of which physical activity is a critical part. We must create a national public policy and health care environment wherein our citizens are supported in their efforts to make healthy lifestyle choices.
In a resource-strapped environment, large spending on preventable chronic diseases crowds out the ability to spend limited dollars on other medical issues that would — in the long run — serve a greater good in creating a healthier, more prosperous America.
The 96 percent of Medicare dollars already spent on preventable chronic diseases is a fait accompli. But if we act with urgency to embrace and support prevention and healthy lifestyles in America, we can give our nation’s youth a better shot at a future of good health.
And if we’re successful, they’ll live long and well, and they will benefit from an affordable Medicare system — however it might look in the future.
Joe Moore is president and CEO of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.