SHAPE

Q: What is preventative healthcare and why should I care?

A: Preventative healthcare is a type of healthcare that consists of measures to prevent illness and disease, rather than treating illness and disease once they have occurred. An individual’s health encompasses both physical and mental conditions, and so too is illness and disease. Prevention, in turn, requires thought-out healthy actions. Some examples are: passing up that slice of pizza for a salad, making regular trips to the Hart Center for exercise, practicing mindfulness, reducing one’s exposure to harmful environmental factors, and in general having a healthy lifestyle.

Many people die of preventable deaths each year, and preventable illnesses and diseases have massive economic costs. A study from 2004 shows that roughly half of all deaths in the United States in the year 2000 were preventable, whether they were from unhealthy behaviors or unnecessary harmful exposures. Obesity, a preventable disease, has an average annual cost of $190.2 billion and makes up 21 percent of annual medical spending in the United States.

So I ask you: why wait until you are ill to become concerned with your health and seek treatment when you could have prevented the condition in the first place? Not only will you make fewer trips to the doctor’s office or hospital, but you will live a healthier and happier life here on The Hill.

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