In 2019, the National Health Council issued a report stating that approximately 133 million Americans (or 40% of the population) are managing chronic disease. And in 2020, it was anticipated that this number would grow to an estimated 157 million Americans.
As cases of chronic disease continue to rise — with a growing number of individuals diagnosed with multiple conditions — the shortcomings of traditional approaches have become more clear. To achieve positive long-term outcomes, the focus needs to shift from managing symptoms to managing the underlying causes of disease.
Guided by this idea, lifestyle therapy is changing the way we look at healthcare for the better.
An Introduction to Lifestyle Therapy & Its Benefits
Every day, individuals make decisions that have an impact on their health and wellness. Often they don’t realize how their decisions might increase or decrease their risks. With an emphasis on nutrition, fitness, behavior and support, lifestyle therapy leans on clinical disciplines to help individuals make better lifestyle choices to prevent, manage and improve chronic disease.
Consider lifestyle in the scope of a person’s overall well-being.
According to the World Health Organization, 60% of health and wellness is attributed to lifestyle factors—and just 40% is attributed to genetics and medical care.
Starting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is easier said than done. Through lifestyle therapy, patients can connect with wellness experts who understand behavior change and what it takes to achieve improved clinical outcomes. With guidance and support in lifestyle management — and insight into the roots of their health issues — patients can move forward in their health journey.
Let’s use the example of a smoking cessation program. Through a lifestyle therapy approach, clinical experts address addiction and habit formation as the underlying cause of tobacco use. With personalized guidance on how to improve their environment, manage cravings and withdrawal and work holistically on combating other unhealthy habits, patients are set up to achieve long-term success.
While the lifestyle changes patients make can seem simple in nature, statistics show that their impact is significant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that by eliminating the risk factors of a poor diet, inactivity and smoking, we can prevent 80% of heart disease and 80% of Type 2 diabetes, among other chronic conditions.
Moving Away From the “Sick Care” ModelAlthough the U.S. spends trillions of dollars on healthcare (an average of $10,000 per person per year), studies indicate that the U.S. still has the second-highest hospitalization rate for preventable conditions like diabetes and hypertension. This divide is attributed in part to the reactive nature of the traditional healthcare system, or what’s referred to as “sick care.” Once individuals become ill or experience an emergency, they visit their physician to help treat the issue.
While these types of acute treatments are necessary in many cases, the larger focus in healthcare should be on preventive measures. With time, energy and costs directed at helping patients lead a healthier lifestyle, healthcare systems can move toward a prevention model that lowers the risk of chronic conditions, eliminates unnecessary treatments and saves significant healthcare costs year-over-year.
As a lifestyle therapeutics company, inHealth delivers care with an emphasis on preventative health for the highest-risk, hardest-to-treat patients. Through our partnerships with payers and providers, we deliver personalized lifestyle therapy solutions that are clinically proven to help these patients and members prevent, manage and improve chronic disease.