Saturday, November 28, 2009
Health Care Savings Could Start in the Cafeteria
By Lingxiao Li
Obesity alone threatens to overwhelm the system. In a recent study, Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy and management at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, found that if trends continued, annual health care costs related to obesity would total $344 billion by 2018, or more than 20 percent of total health care spending. (It now accounts for 9 percent.)At first blush, the notion of eating our way out of huge public health challenges like obesity, diabetes and heart disease may seem an overly simplistic and idealistic fix for complex, multifaceted problems. But health experts say that, in fact, an apple a day does keep the doctor away, and that many studies prove it.As part of the program, the Full Yield will give employees access to nutrition coaches by phone, as well as personalized online health pages containing the biometric data, exercise and eating tracking tools and information on things like how to cook whole grains and make salad dressing.We feel certain this will have an effect on our bottom line,” she says, “but it will probably take a few years to get there.