The mental, physical, and economic well-being of individuals across the United States is under tremendous threat from the devastating toll of preventable diseases and the rising rate of childhood obesity. Today people are eating more but exercising less; working harder but sleeping less; and drinking more high calorie beverages but less water. All of this has added up to a dangerous equation. One in three kids ages 2 to 19 in the United States is overweight or obese,1 about 117 million people — half of all adults in the United States — have one or more chronic health conditions,2 and the treatment of these diseases accounts for 86 percent of the nation’s healthcare spending.3
Fortunately, solutions exist. By helping individuals and communities take small measures to improve their health, we can help change millions of lives. By engaging individuals, schools, communities, and organizations to share solutions to healthy living, over time, collective success will be scaled to a greater number of people. Any approach to eradicating chronic diseases like obesity and activating health for all ages must focus on scalable, systemic changes as well as individual ones, and address all factors surrounding environments that affect a person's life. For every dollar invested in prevention, approximately five dollars in health care costs are saved, and the benefits are many – including more active and productive individuals across all generations.
Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Journal of the American Medical Association 2014;311(8):806-814.
Ward BW, Schiller JS, Goodman RA. Multiple chronic conditions among US adults: a 2012 update. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014;11:130389. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130389
Gerteis J, Izrael D, Deitz D, LeRoy L, Ricciardi R, Miller T, Basu J. Multiple Chronic Conditions Chartbook. AHRQ Publications No, Q14-0038. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2014. Accessed November 18, 2014.