In 2007 the Milken Institute published a groundbreaking study on the economic and business burden of chronic disease in America. It was the first of its kind to quantify the avoidable costs if a serious effort were made to improve Americans’ health. According to the study, seven chronic diseases – cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions and mental illness – have a total impact on the economy of $1.3 trillion annually. Of this amount, $1.1 trillion represents the cost of lost productivity.
In 2014 they published an updated report “Checkup Time: Chronic Disease and Wellness in America” that looks at the economic burden of five out of seven of the diseases. Turns out, chronic disease costs were $28 billion greater than they had predicted. Aside from heart disease, for all other diseases, the number of reported cases rose beyond the projections, and actual treatment costs and productivity losses exceeded estimates.
So what does one do? You can read about it in the latest report. It also includes some recommendation to improve outcomes and reduce costs. On the bright side, there is a lot happening today, and there is also a lot of power in the hands of the individual. There are simple behavioral changes we can all make – eat well, sleep plenty, hydrate often, stay active, breath daily, manage stress, make time to do the things you love – albeit not always the easiest to consistently put into practice, but well worth it when you do.
There are several reasons why I prioritize my health, and the next time someone asks me how I stay motivated, I will add “because it also helps the economy.” :)
And I’m out,