Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Innovative State Health Initiatives Targeting Youth, Seniors, Employees and the Community

It is well known that poor diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use are the major preventable causes of disease in the United States. States are facing rising health care costs and alarming statistics on unhealthy lifestyles. An example of this trend is New Jersey. In 2007, it cost the state more than $2.3 billion to pay for medical problems related to obesity. In New Jersey, 55 percent of the population is obese or overweight.

To address this critical issue and encourage healthy living and wellness, the New Jersey Health Care and Quality Institute created The "Mayors Wellness Campaign"http://www.mayorswellnesscampaign.org/dev/index.php The wellness program comes with a toolbox of strategies based on reaching:
  • youth
  • employees
  • seniors
  • communities

The program encourages all Mayors to take a pledge to develop and implement active-living initiatives in their communities. The campaign's ultimate goal is to improve health and reduce skyrocketing health care costs.

Another State taking action is New York. New York State Health or NYSH http://www.nyshealthfoundation.org/ was established in 2006 to improve the overall health of New York communities. The mission of the private statewide agency includes informing and educating New Yorkers about preventive services, promote healthy behavior and lifestyles, and provide health service delivery to improve health outcomes. NYSH latest initiative and priority is reversing the New York diabetes epidemic. The total cost of diabetes for New York in 2006 was estimated at $12.9 billion, including excess medical costs attributed to diabetes of $8.7 billion and lost productivity valued at $4.2 billion. NYSH has recently announced the launch of a landmark $35 million campaign to reverse the growing diabetes epidemic. More than 1.5 million New York State residents have diabetes.

Start your own employee wellness initiatives now. Your efforts may reduce health care costs and improve employee health. Summer is the perfect time to plan!

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