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Straight Talk
A weekly update from management on the issues that matter most.

May 3, 2018
Imagine a world without disease or a healthy, happy community with less sickness. Both are possible, and actually one is currently a reality. Southwest Florida, for the third consecutive year, is the healthiest and happiest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the nation, with the longest life expectancy that has lengthened for the second year. America can do the same. Locally, we have not only coastal affluence but also inland need, with 64% of our public school children eligible for free or reduced lunch and 54% living in non-English speaking homes. The statistics below should be motivation for everyone, including those who currently profit from disease. Decreasing the Cost of Care by Avoiding Illness (NEJM)

 

Our nation has rallied in the past when responsible and innovative entrepreneurs disrupted their own industries  for overall good.  Auto mortality has decreased per mile travelled with the implementation of three-point seatbelts, airbags, collapsible steering wheels, and improved roadways.  Consider paying tobacco companies to stop promoting smoking, which is responsible for 90% of lung cancer.  Consider nudging the food industry to change the “Bliss Point” using healthy alternatives to sugar, salt, and fat.  Salt, Sugar, Fat, and the Bliss Point

 

Transforming the healthcare industry—physicians, healthcare systems, public health organizations, insurers, pharmaceuticals, and other participants—from a repair-shop mentality to a prevention-oriented outlook will change the well-being of America and potentially our world.   Yes, this vision is a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG), but pockets of documented success exist nationally, with three million Americans in 42 communities in 9 states statistically living longer, happier, and healthier lives.  Blue Zones National Metrics  

 

In our community, 140,000 people, 101 worksites, 36 schools, 22 faith-based organizations, 72 restaurants, 8 grocery stores, 36 home owners associations and 176 other groups are on the road to wellness.  We are on our way to becoming a Blue Zones community where, on average, people live twelve more good years, have a lower incidence of chronic disease, and are ten times more likely to live to be 100.  Blue Zones SW Florida

 

Change requires courage and fortitude.  Partakers of bad habits—such as drugs, tobacco, obesity, lawlessness, excess alcohol, and not moving naturally—need to be redirected to make the healthy choice the easy choice.  Once positive feedback is obtained, momentum can be harnessed to entice others.  Non-smokers, healthy eaters, and naturally-moving folks attract others like themselves.  Step by step and person by person, we have and must continue to improve everyone’s health.   

 

P.S.  DO YOU HAVE A COLLEAGUE OR FRIEND WHO WOULD BE INTERESTED IN UPDATES?  Please enter their email address at nchmd.org/straighttalk, and we will add them to our complimentary mailing list.  

AUTHOR

Allen Weiss, M.D.

President and CEO

You may contact Dr. Allen Weiss and The NCH Healthcare System by clicking here.