Chronic Disease and a New Approach to Healthcare

The World Health Organization reports that “chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 60% of all deaths“.

WHO data also shows that the major risk factors for chronic disease are:

  • an unhealthy diet,
  • physical inactivity,
  • and tobacco use.

The WHO also claims that if the major risk factors for chronic disease were eliminated, at least 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes would be prevented; and 40% of cancer would be prevented.

However, without action, 17 million people will die prematurely this year from a chronic disease. 17 million people dying from diseases caused by their own lifestyles.

Maybe that video was a tad over the top; but you get my point.

In a recent press release, the Ontario Health Quality Council reported that:

  • Ontario is failing to meet the chronic disease challenge: nearly 8,000 lives could be saved annually and the quality of life improved for many more by better managing chronic disease.
  • 1-in-3 Ontarians suffers from chronic disease. Eighty percent of Ontarians over 65 have at least one chronic disease and 70 percent of these have two or more.
  • Fewer than half (47%) of Ontarians with diabetes have their blood sugar under control and just 28% have their blood pressure under control.

This is coming from one of the richest provinces in a country with one of the world’s highest Health Adjusted Life Expectancies (HALE).

So what does the Ontario Health Quality Council suggest to combat chronic diseases?

  • Improve patient access to doctors
  • Improve patient access to medical tests/scans
  • Implement a province-wide electronic patient/doctor information system
  • Citizens should strive to live a healthy lifestyle

Groundbreaking ideas… More doctors, more money, more tests, more money, more technology, more money, and live a healthy lifestyle.

Not very original – spend taxpayer dollars and tell them what they already know to be true – smoking is bad for your health, being obese is bad for your health, stress is bad for your health, etc.

Is there a Solution?

Instead of spending more taxpayer dollars on doctors, MRIs and health promotion commercials (Like this ,this, this) , how about we offer taxpayers who live a ‘healthy’ lifestyle a reduction in income taxes?

Behavior modification through reward rather than punishment.

Now if only we could create a global lobby group to push this agenda to our respective governments.


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