Everyone is aware of the extremely high cost of most health care services. These costs can be measured not only in cash outlays, but also in time spent at a doctor's office. Waiting times can often be an hour or more for a comprehensive physical examination at a family physician's or internist's office. If you have a problem that requires same-day attention, the waiting time at a local hospital emergency room is open-ended and can easily range into several hours or more.
Those fortunate enough to have health insurance are able to buffer some of the monetary expenses. But even with an individual or family health insurance policy, annual out-of-pocket costs continue to rise steeply as monthly premiums, co-payments, and deductibles increase substantially year-over-year. For example, during the past five years monthly premiums for many policies have increased 15% or more annually. This means that monthly payments in 2013 would be approximately double those paid in 2008. Twice the cost for the same coverage. That's a tough situation. Of course, the fees don't stop at the monthly premium. Many policies have deductibles in the range of $5000 or more.
It is now well-established that lifestyle matters greatly to one's long-term health and well-being.1,2 Numerous studies have shown that one in three Americans have one or more chronic diseases - diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The personal and family costs, the financial costs, and the costs to society of chronic disease are high. By establishing habits of good nutrition, regular vigorous exercise, and rewarding relationships and activities, we help prevent these major health problems.3 By engaging in healthy lifestyles, we are taking action that will reap many rewards for ourselves and our families down the years.