iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

2.7% of US Adults Achieve All Four Healthy Behaviors

Researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Mississippi recently conducted a study on four healthy lifestyle behaviors (good diet, moderate exercise, recommended body fat percentage, non-smoking) in U.S. adults. Here are some key findings from the report:

  • 2.7% of all adults had all four healthy lifestyle characteristics, while 16% had three.
  • 37% had two, 34% had one, and 11% had none of the healthy lifestyle characteristics.
  • Mexican American adults were more likely to eat a healthy diet than non-Hispanic white or black adults.
  • Women were more likely to not smoke and eat a healthy diet, but less likely to be sufficiently active.
  • 1 in 10 had a normal body fat percentage and 46% were sufficiently active.
  • 71% adults did not smoke and 38% ate a healthy diet.

Source: Oregon State University, March 21, 2016

Will vaccines hit the mark next flu season?

Changes to flu vaccine for 2015-16 season recommended by FDA committee The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended an overhaul for the influenza vaccine for the 2015-16 season after the vaccine for the 2014-15 season proved to be largely ineffective. This season’s vaccine did not include the A/Switzerland/9715293/2013-like virus, which turned out to be the most prevalent strain. The World Health Organization has recommended it be included in next year’s vaccine, along with a new H1N1 A strain, A/California/7/2009 pandemic09-like virus, and B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus, a new B strain. The FDA and CDC concur with the WHO’s suggestion. Medscape (free registration)

I can get my $1 Coke and my $1 dollar burger, but where’s my $1 salad?

80% of consumers say they wish “doing healthier things didn’t cost so much”

According to a recent consumer survey by Cigna:

  • 75% fear health costs could ruin prospects for secure retirement.
  • 44% worry health costs will limit ability to pay for child’s college.
  • 42% of consumers note hospitalization as their number one health cost concern.
  • 19% of consumers note health costs for a spouse or partner as their number one health cost concern.
  • 16% of consumers note costs of medications as their number one health cost concern.

Note: “Health and Financial Well-being: How Strong Is the Link?” was conducted electronically via a panel by MRops Data Collection from August 7 – 21, 2014 with 1,847 women and men 25-64.

Life Expectancy on the Rise; Disease on the Decline

Fewer heart disease, cancer deaths help boost U.S. life expectancy The average life expectancy for an American baby born in 2012 is 78.8 years, according to the CDC, a new high credited partly to fewer deaths from heart disease, cancer and chronic illness. The figure is a one-month increase over the 2011 estimate, and eight of the top 10 causes of mortality decreased, including a 1.8% drop in heart disease-related deaths and a 1.5% decrease in cancer mortality. Bloomberg (10/8)

Over use is a human condition, not an American condition

India’s battle against unneeded medical care finds World Bank support Reuters reports: India needs to curtail excessive medical care that leads to patient overspending as more people get health insurance, the World Bank said on Thursday, adding voice to a growing chorus against overtreatment in the country. Reuters, July 31, 2014

There is a lack of transparency in Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding

IOM says changes are needed in financing of graduate medical educationDespite increasing public investment in graduate medical education, the system of funding the program still lacks transparency and accountability, according to an Institute of Medicine report released Tuesday. The panel recommended the creation of a Graduate Medical Education Policy Council within HHS and a GME Center within the CMS to handle the distribution of funds. BeckersHospitalReview.com (7/29), The Oncology Report (7/29)

What is the salt content of your food

The FDA is ready to make a move on regulating the sodium content of foods, the agency’s commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, announced.

Why Is Health Care Price Transparency Important?

Here is a reason why it is important for consumers and patients to know what a health care expense is going to cost them out of their pocket:

49% of employees surveyed have less than $1,000 with which to pay for unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses Source: “2014 Aflac WorkForces Report: Executive Summary,” Aflac, April 16, 2014, http://workforces.aflac.com/download/pdf/overview/2014_Executive_Summary.pdf

Health care expenses are one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy. Perhaps if people knew what things were going to cost ahead of time, or at least immediately following receiving a service, they might be better equipped to make rational consumer choices.

The health of a community is much more than health care

Everyone’s destiny is health care. We have poured billions into the clinical side of health care. We have made huge progress in what we can do to improve outcomes for people. The issue of disparate impact in health care is a vexing one. We are beginning to observe that Socio-Economic Status is a huge predictor of health and health care. We need to do more than simply pour money into health care. We need to pay attention to health and the contributors to health including education, jobs, nutrition, safety and many other factors. Here is a story that is beginning to identify these issues. We need to do more at the community level. We need to build consensus among the many stakeholders in the community — all of whom play vital role in the health of a community.

Report: Physicians should address patient social issues to improve outcomesPhysicians should address social issues, such as housing and access to healthy food, as part of efforts to improve quality outcomes and reduce costs, according to a Manatt Health Solutions report commissioned by The Commonwealth Fund. One option for funding social support services may come through patient-centered medical homes, the report said. Medscape (free registration) (6/13)