Health is shaped by many factors, including genetics, access to quality medical care, social circumstances, health literacy, environment, and behavioral choices. Chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and some cancers, account for much of the disability and mortality in the United States and across the world.
Prevention Improves Quality of Life and Decreases Health Care Costs
Current health care spending practices in the United States are concentrated on treating chronic diseases. Of the more than $2 trillion spent on health care in the United States each year, only 2 to 3 percent is spent on prevention.¹ In addition, much of the discussions about health care reform are focused on who pays for health care. However, focusing on prevention and the reduction of risk factors for chronic disease is essential to reducing the burden of disease, improving quality of life, and decreasing health care costs.
Transforming Approaches to Health
To become a healthier world, we must transform our fundamental approach to health. We must move away from the current system that is focused on treating disease to a system focused on embracing wellness through prevention. In the United States, we spend more money on health care than any other nation in the world, yet rank 50th in life expectancy.² If we focus our resources on prevention, we can and will reduce health care costs, and improve our health and well-being.
Programs that Emphasize Disease Prevention
Together with our partners, Canyon Ranch Institute aims to accelerate a cultural transformation to redefine individual and community health in terms of disease prevention rather than disease treatment.
Canyon Ranch Institute programs advance health literacy and incorporate physical activity, healthy nutrition, stress management, and other healthy choices to help empower people to prevent disease and embrace a life of wellness.
¹Steven H. Woolf. A Closer Look at the Economic Argument for Disease Prevention. JAMA. 2009;301(5):536-538.
²CIA. World Factbook. Life Expectancy.