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Newsletter Vol #80 Thats How I See It!

 

I am getting a bit excited about heading out to Grand Cayman for Suzanne and Brad's wedding. I just know it will be a magical day. More about that event when we get back.

Please feel free to share the Newsletter and encourage people to checkout my newest book Communication And Relationships, (C & R).

If you haven't picked up your "Free" copy of C & R, and would like one, drop by the Westoba Credit Union, 1890 Pembina Hwy. on Friday, October 27, between 11 and 5 or call 204-299-9399 and pick one up at the house.


It's all about Wellness for the next few newsletters.

Should We Continue to pay for People's Poor Health Decisions?

Don Ardell, self-styled guru and author of this famous line, "Wellness is too important to be grim about", states that no medical system can afford to pay for individuals who abuse themselves and refuse to make good decisions about their health. He writes, tongue-in-cheek, "Let's encourage people to smoke, thousands will die yearly and then the taxpayers won't have to provide services to them in their old age!" His contention is that, if people lived healthy lives they would live longer and, conversely, that would mean greater costs to the taxpayer.

Dr. Ardell's weird slant on the financial advantage from poor health choices is the antithesis to the usual discussions of wellness and making good lifestyle choices.  Most people want to live long and healthy lives. However, most people consistently make poor health decisions throughout their lives and expect the medical system to bail them out at the end. A little known statistic (so unknown I can't quote it verbatim or be certain of the source, although I do know that it came from an old Ardell newsletter column), is that in North America, we spend the highest percentage of medical costs during the last five weeks of a person's life. He states, this would be called "after the fact" kind of thinking, not "preventative" thinking. This last minute, "heroic" procedure, which is incredibly costly, is applied, for the most part, to people who have already settled into the process of dying; it's too late! As well, a very high percent (the statistic I have seen in print is 80%) are dying from lifestyle related illnesses. That means they had choices and probably have not made the best decisions about healthy living throughout their lives, and are now paying the ultimate price. Should we not allow these people who are dying and have no chance for quality of life, to just die? Invest the money saved (no heroics) and put it into prevention, education and awareness programs so as to encourage those still healthy to make good choices. As well, put money into quality of life (QL) programming for those who have made good choices and will live longer and healthier. Encourage people to live healthily and reward those who have.       

"Heroics" or "Pull the plug" are certainly discussions we need to have with family members. Individuals need to have a say on what they want when their time comes. For me, QL is the standard by which to 'live', as in live life to the fullest. Measure the success of your day by the QL garnered, rather than the length of the list of accomplishments. Similarly, QL should be the deciding factor of when we 'die'. What I mean is that we should be allowed to die without the heroics and without it being a legal/political decision. When the QL is gone from a person's life, they should be allowed to die. This discussion is not really all that controversial until we start to talk about 'who' should be allowed to make these life and death decisions, or when we bring in religious dogma which in most cases doesn't allow for an individual position on this issue.

Another way of looking at health and wellness, and the redistribution of the shrinking medical dollar, is to reward people who practice a positive, healthy lifestyle and to make those who are putting themselves at risk, accountable for their own medical costs.  It's always been a mystery to me when we know unequivocally that smoking causes cancer, why we would take care of the medical costs of the smoker, or of those injured on motorcycles who have not bothered to wear a helmet.  These are choices people make. They have the right to make them, but by the same token, they have the right to be held accountable for their choices, and not expect the taxpayer to pay for their decisions. However, I guess this perspective could be used for a great many other medical issues as well, and if applied too liberally could include most everything we need hospitals and doctors for.

An article in the magazine, Business and Health, prompted this entire tirade of mine. It seems that a small company, the A. E. Miller Meatpacking firm in Hyrum, Utah, decided not to pay for some medical procedures based on certain lifestyle factors of their employees.  They stated that they would not cover medical costs if an employee was involved in an auto accident and was not wearing a seatbelt, or was 'driving under the influence'. Similarly if riding a motorcycle without a helmet - no coverage.  If prospective parents do not attend pre-natal classes, they will not reimburse the cost of delivery, or baby's care in the hospital.  They are  also charging smokers significantly more for insurance premiums than non-smokers. Can they do this legally?  Can they force people to make healthier life choices? Yes they can! It seems that they have been doing this since 1992 and health costs have dropped 20%.  Eric Falk, Human Resource Director of A. E. Miller, states, "All we're going to say is that this is what we will pay for, and we will not pay unless certain pre-requisites have been met. The main thing is that we are not discriminating against anyone. We are requiring everyone to do the same thing."

My response is, "What took so long?"  I truly believe in stopping the flow of freebies to people who use the medical system to take care of their health instead of doing it themselves. Maybe if we tie responsibility for one's health more to that individual's pocket book, the person might begin to make healthier choices - maybe!

What do you think?  Why not drop me a note. Give me a response and let me know where you stand: Agree? Disagree?  I certainly don't have the picture from all sides.

Dan Rosin is the author of "Finding Balance!" and "Communication & Relationships" He can be reached at 204-299-9399 or danrosin@drcounselling.com, www.drcounselling.com


Wellness Fact

Coffee drinkers have a lower death rate from cardiovascular and other inflammatory diseases that those who don't drink coffee. The theory behind this is that coffee is a major antioxidant; it may inhibit inflammation, which is a factor in cardiovascular disease and many other disorders.


Much of the following article is taken from Paul Zane Pilzer's 2002 book titled, The Wellness Revolution.

Sickness industry: products and services provided reactively to people with an existing disease, ranging from a common cold to existing cancerous tumours.  These products and services seek to either treat the symptoms of a disease or eliminate the disease.   
  
Wellness industry:  products and services provided proactively to help people (those without an existing disease) feel even healthier and look better, to slow the effects of aging, or to prevent diseases from developing in the first place.

The sickness business is reactive. Despite its enormous size, people become customers only when they are stricken by and react to a specific condition or ailment.  No one really wants to be a customer.

The wellness business is proactive.  People voluntarily become customers-to feel healthier, to reduce the effects of aging, and to avoid becoming customers of the sickness business. Everyone wants to be a customer of this early stage approach to health. 

Wellness is a $200 billion a year industry (including $70 billion for vitamins and $24 billion for fitness clubs).

Using DNA: a wellness person using this information could target specific exercise, food, vitamins and supplement based therapies, adding years in quantity and quality to our lives.

Most people who are overweight today occupy the lower rungs of the economic market. Rich fat people have become an oxymoron; while poor and fat have become synonymous. In the USA, 61% of the population is currently overweight and 27% chemically obese* (Canadians 20.2%). These numbers have doubled since 1980 and have increased 10% in the last 4 years. When a person is fat, it is hard to find a job, a relationship, or the energy to stay on top of the everyday demands of even a single life.

The chemists of the food companies not only just target the lower income - the unhealthy and overweight consumers for their products, but once they succeed in having them try the product, those people will never be satisfied with just eating a healthy amount.

The human body requires a daily intake of 13 essential vitamins. The majority of North Americans are not getting the minimal amount of these vitamins and minerals that their bodies need because of the chemically altered processed and fast foods they are consuming. Over the short term these deficiencies manifest themselves as mood swings, lack of energy, joint pain, failing eyesight, hearing loss, and thousands of other ailments that medical science tells us to accept as advancing age. Over the long term these deficiencies cause cancer and heart disease.

Prescription drugs now represent the single largest monthly expense for most US citizens over age 65, approximately $300/month. People are forced to make the decision between food and medication.

It is more profitable to produce medications that treat the symptoms, than it is to find a cure.

Although there is no direct correlation between the $1 trillion food industry (which is a significant contributor), and the $1.5 trillion medical industry which treats the symptoms just enough to get people back to work and consuming again, they are related.

Between 1996 and 2000, the number of people who were overweight and obese increased 10% to 27% obese and 61% overweight, and medical costs rose from $1 to $1.5 trillion. That is 77 million Americans clinically obese and 184 million overweight and unhealthy because they lacked the resources, information and motivation to take care of their most precious asset- their wellness.

The 39% of non-overweight Americans are eating healthier than they ever have. This group quietly embraced a new revolution: to diet, to exercise, to take vitamins and nutritional supplements, to use medical care appropriately, and to limit the effects of aging.

The wellness industry exists today because of J.I. Rodale, founder of Prevention magazine.

Wellness spending had reached $200 billion per year by 2000.

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) will continue to have an economic impact primarily until 2010 and beyond.
--Boomers are refusing to passively accept the aging process.
--Boomers are responsible for the largest stock market rise in history, the
personal computer, the Internet, the sport utility vehicle.
--Over the next ten years (2002-2012) Boomers increased their spending, based on existing wellness-based services from $200 million to $1 trillion.                                                                                                                                                                                      
        
Generation X (born 1965-1982) will take the Boomer-established pro-active approach to wellness.

Today, almost 95% of the things we spend our money on (necessities) were not even around when many of us were born: television sets, airline travel, Disneyland vacations, high fashion clothes, DVD's, air conditioners, personal computers, day care, movies, fast food restaurants, dry cleaning, the internet.

In 1933 the average American lived in 136 sq. ft. of living space, today it's in excess of 750 sq. ft. per person.

Quantity Demand is the consumer's desire for more of what they already have purchased: another television set, a second car, a bigger house, an extra suit of clothing.

When Quantity Demand is satiated, Quality Demand kicks in.

When you have all the food, clothing, and TV's you need-you start wanting better food, better clothing, and better TV's.

The human body is composed of about 60% water and requires a minimum of 2 quarts of fresh water daily. It is estimated that 75% of North Americans are chronically dehydrated and that 37% mistake thirst for hunger. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fatigue and mental dysfunction.

Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%,  the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and the risk of bladder cancer by 50%.

Our bodies manufacture 200 billion red blood cells each day, replacing all the blood in our bodies every 120 days. Skin is completely replaced every 1-3 months. It takes 90 days for all old bone to be broken down and replaced with new bone.
100,000 different proteins;
20 different Amino Acids;
14 essential Minerals (need more than 100 milligrams/day) calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur;
13 essential vitamins

The food industry unwittingly injured the health of much of the nation. In order to make their products taste better, they added fat. The better it tasted, the more customers ate their product, and the fatter they became. The fatter the customers became, the more food products they consumed.

Empty Calories-food containing high amounts of caloric energy but low (or empty) in essential vitamins, minerals and proteins.

Exercise

--a lack of regular physical exercise is the attributed  cause of approximately 12% of the 2.1 million deaths in the US each year, about 250,000 people.

--only 15% of US adults engage in regular vigorous physical activity, and 60% report getting effectively no exercise at all from a regular or sustained leisure time activity.

--our bodies require both generic aerobic exercise (running, biking) and strength exercise (weight training and flexibility) to keep us healthy and functional.

--when people get more "fit", marriages improve, careers improve, and in some cases, whole lives get turned around, both physically and emotionally.

Chemically obese: chemicals found in our food, home and work environments and in the products we buy are among the substances linked to how our body creates or stores fat.      



In my younger days, when I was doing a workshop a week on wellness for my employer, I would begin the session with a few questions. These are some of the questions I would use to introduce the topic (personal health and wellness) and to start a meaningful dialogue.

What do you know about Wellness? Define.

Do you believe you have the choice to be healthy? Or do your family and/or worksite responsibilities control your health?

How do you sabotage your own wellness?

How do you/ the system encourage people to practice personal wellness?

What responsibility do you think the employer has in supporting the concept of wellness? The Union? The Government? The Individual?

What are the costs of an unhealthy lifestyle?

What has to happen for you to take action, to become accountable for your own health?

Can we ask others to take better care of themselves, if we are not prepared to do so ourselves? 


  Wellness Fact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    WellnessFact

People who gain weight between ages 25 and 40 are at a much higher risk for eventually developing type II diabetes than those who gain a similar amount of weight between ages 40 and 55. An earlier weight gain tends to result in earlier  onset of the disease. Canadian researchers found that people with diabetes are likely to develop cardiovascular disease 15 years earlier than other people.



Have a great week and give me some feedback on the Don Ardell article.

 

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