In the U.S., according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), "Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths each year, and treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86% of our nation’s health care costs." Half of American adults suffer from at least one of these conditions, one in three - have multiple conditions and almost 20% have five or more! These largely preventable diseases cause 70% of all deaths.
Putting numbers to these percentages, 70% equates to 1.7 million people dying per year and 133 million Americans who have at least one chronic disease. Aside from death and disability, "every 30 seconds a lower limb is amputated as a consequence of diabetes."
A new study found out that close to 70 million Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome, and that number continues to rise. Associated with growing rates of abdominal obesity and high blood pressure, it leads to diabetes and heart disease. What's more, the study found, although men's rates continue to rise, women, mostly younger, evidence the most significant increases.
So what, exactly, is a chronic disease, and what causes it? It is a health problem that lasts longer than three months. Sometimes it disappears and reappears repeatedly. It encompasses cardiovascular issues, cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and arthritis. Statistics identify four common behavioral risk factors: smoking and tobacco use, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and harmful use of alcohol.
These causative factors make chronic disease a lifestyle issue. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 80% of all heart diseases, stroke, and diabetes cases, and 40% of all cancers, are preventable.
What does this have to do with you? Why does your business need a corporate wellness program? Of course, you want healthy employees! They perform better. But based on these numbers, it is almost certain that 70% of your staff is at risk, and there are real dollars and cents consequences for your business. Take note of these numbers:
A study of The Milken Institute evaluated the burden of 7 of the most common chronic diseases (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, mental disorders, pulmonary conditions, and stroke). It found that individual lost work days cost companies $127 billion per year; distracted or disengaged caregivers - $80 billion per year; and absent caregivers - $11 billion per year. This means that eliminating preventable chronic diseases can increase business productivity by more than 25%.
Add to the cost in productivity the burden of increasing medical and insurance costs, and it is clear why, as a business owner, you must care about this growing problem.
Experts agree that the key to reducing chronic illness and its burden on society and business is through prevention. Another CDC report, The Power of Prevention, asserts "We have indisputable evidence of the power of prevention." Prevention saves you money, and this is where you and your business have an important role.
Introducing a well-planned and implemented corporate wellness program to your business is the kind of prevention that brings tangible results. These programs typically:
These improvements are critical in reducing chronic disease, especially related to stress, poor nutrition, and fitness.
Wellness programs include setting positive lifestyle goals, identifying what specific issues require resolution, helping break negative habitual behaviors, educating and providing support and accountability. They assist with weight loss, better eating habits, getting underway with a fitness program, stress reduction, smoking cessation, better work-life-family balance and more.
Move your employees toward their highest level of productivity. Explore today ways you can bring a wellness program to your business via simple yet efficient friendly competitions and health management. Visit our corporate wellness programs to find out more and make the service part of your cost-effective planning.
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