With childhood obesity numbers through the roof, parents in America are now expected to outlive their children. And preventable chronic diseases account for 57 percent of deaths in San Diegans.
Today, the County took the first step toward lowering those deaths, when the Board of Supervisors approved the groundbreaking Health Strategy Agenda, which promotes healthy lifestyles with its own County employees and the community.
Part of the Health Strategy Agenda is the “3-4-50” concept. Throughout the nation and locally, three behaviors – poor nutrition, lack of exercise and tobacco use - are the three main causes that lead to four diseases: heart disease/stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes and respiratory conditions, such as asthma, which account for than half of deaths in San Diegans.
“A recent White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity study found the country spends nearly $150 billion a year just on obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and stroke,” Chairwoman Pam Slater-Price said. “Just imagine that figure if we include tobacco-related diseases, such as lung cancer. The good news is that we all can do something to help turn around these top health threats and live longer, more fruitful lives.”
“By taking responsibility for your own health in changing your diet, exercising more, and not smoking, people would live much longer with a better quality of life. And health care costs to taxpayers would be significantly reduced,” said Nick Macchione, director of the County Health and Human Services Agency. “We’re really excited in expanding our existing collaboration with the health care provider community, residents, and business partners in improving the region’s preventive healthcare system.”
The County Plan focuses on four major areas:
- Building a Better System focuses on how the County delivers services and how it can further strengthen partnerships to support health. An example is putting physical and mental health together so that they are easier to access.
- Supporting Healthy Choices provides information and educates residents so they are aware of how choices they make affect their health. The plan highlights chronic diseases because these are largely preventable and we can make a difference through awareness and education.
- Pursuing Policy Changes for a Healthy Environment is about creating policies and community changes to support recommended healthy choices.
- Improving the Culture from Within. As an employer, the County has a responsibility to educate and support its workforce so employees “walk the talk.” Simply said, change starts with the County.
Changing the culture with its own employees is the first step the County plans on tackling before rolling out its plan out to residents. Living a healthy lifestyle lowers sick days and reduces health care costs.
Find out more about this plan by visiting the Health Strategy Agenda web page or watching this video: