Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Healthcare and Wellness and Prevention! Oh My! - The Other Side of Reform

About a week after I blogged about the healthcare reform debate and the omission of prevention as a way to manage and improve healthcare costs, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that a portion of the American Recovery and Reinstatement Act would focus on just that: PREVENTION.  For a quick second I thought, “Hmm… while surfing the web, did Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius come across my article and think “wow, this Allegra is right, we need to do something about this!”   Yes, I’m quite sure that’s how it went down. In any event, it was music to my ears, or rather my eyes since I was reading. But the release announcement from the HHS specifically said that $373 million of the allotted $650 million for the American Recovery and Reinstatement Act would be put towards the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative geared towards prevention and getting Americans healthy. The goal? According to Sebelius, it is “to make disease prevention and health promotion a priority”

As the saying goes “talk is cheap”.   I’ve often commented that if something is important to an institution or organization, you’ll know for certain when you see how much is budgeted for that initiative. Well,  judging by the amount designated to prevention and wellness, I would say that this administration does indeed care. And it seems as if its leaders are trying to set, or rather, live the example. President Barack Obama’s push is on Healthcare Reform, while his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama appears to be the staunch advocate for wellness and prevention. We’re seeing media clips regularly of the First Lady planting gardens and shopping at Farmer’s Markets. Recent interviews in Women’s Health and Children’s Health Magazines reveal Mrs. Obama’s philosophy on healthy living and the importance of setting the example. She was very forthcoming about the struggles that she faced as a career Mom who was juggling the responsibilities of a high-powered career, mother and wife. She says at one point in the interview, that because of the schedules that she, Barack and the girls had, fast food meals and sugary drinks and snacks became the convenient option. It wasn’t until the family pediatrician who had been noticing trends in obesity in the youth in their community, flagged that the BMI, (body mass index) of one of the Obama girls was high and suggested that the Obama’s may want to keep an eye out. With that warning, Mrs. Obama made the decision to make “minor” changes as she called it. Since the girls already had active lifestyles, the logical change was to modify what they were eating. Sugary drinks and snacks were replaced with fruits and vegetables, and the family sat down for dinners together more often. These changes made such a significant impact that the same doctor during the next visit wanted to know what Mrs. Obama had done to achieve such results.

 The Obama’s are also very active and committed to their fitness routines. No, this isn’t the first time that we’ve had a President who was committed to a healthy lifestyle, but this is the first time that we’ve heard and gotten insight into the First Lady’s activities. The fact of the matter is this, as stated in my article “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: What’s Missing in the Debate Over US Healthcare” what we do plays a significant role in our health. I am very excited to see the moves that this administration is making on emphasizing wellness and prevention. Just today, only 2 weeks after the initial budget announcement, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the first $120 million would be made available for States and Territories to begin program implementation and will have 2 years to complete their work. The unfortunate thing is that the mainstream media does not seem interested in publicizing these efforts. Rather than helping to promote wellness, they seem more inclined to promote drama. So this leaves it to people like me, Fitness/Wellness and Health Professionals to monitor this activity and GET INVOLVED! This is where we come in and help to make these changes. I’m committed to a better America and doing my part to make it so. So trust that this is a space that The Body Beautiful by Allegra will continue to watch closely. Stay Tuned…

No comments:

Post a Comment