Dear Mr. President:
A thank you and an idea to push your prevention and wellness agenda:
Thank you for your focus on wellness and prevention. You and Mrs. Obama serve as role models as individuals, a family and as leaders of our country. You walk the walk.
An idea: Please send much stronger messages to Americans about how living a healthy lifestyle can decrease healthcare costs both personally and for our Nation. It’s time for each able person to play a role in reducing healthcare costs!
Here’s how: Search for 'everyday' Americans, people from all walks of life – ages, ethnicities, income levels, diseases who are managing or preventing a variety of lifestyle-associated diseases. Put these people on the front lines to speak as role models to encourage their fellow citizens to provide practical guidance and assistance. These “spokespersons for prevention” could be at White House events, Town Hall meetings, in PSAs, etc.
Role models for this effort abound, here are a few:
- National Diabetes Education Program of NIH and CDC. Utilize successful participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and Outcomes Study (DPPOS) or programs implementing the DPP findings.
- LookAHEAD trial (Action For Health in Diabetes) participants. Utilize successful participants from this ongoing multicenter NIH trial to prevent complications in type 2 diabetes with intensive lifestyle modification. (link)
- National Weight Control Registry – a registry, directed by obesity experts James Hill, PhD and Rena Wing, PhD, of >5,000 people who have lost significant amount of weight and are keeping it off by living a healthy lifestyle.
Yes, living a healthy lifestyle is challenging, but the more we can provide role models and get more people walking the walk, the easier it will be for all of us to live healthfully in our communities and country-at-large. And the healthier we are as a society, the more we may save on healthcare expenditures.
The conference Weight of Our Nation held July 26-28, 2009 presented convincing data about how obesity is ‘eating up’ our healthcare dollars. Eric Finkelstein, lead author the recently published Health Affairs paper capsulized it, “Unless you address obesity, you’re never going to address rising health-care costs.”
Thank you for all you are doing to support healthy lifestyles for Americans! Let’s do more!
Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE
PS: Thanks also for mentioning the important role nutritionist play in improving diabetes care and reducing complications in your 7/22/09 press conference.
Submitted to whitehouse.gov 7/30/09