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Entries in prevention (8)


Exercise is Prevention. Prevention is the Cure for Chronic Conditions

You’ve heard this statement before: prevention is the best cure for any type of chronic disease.

But what is prevention, really? What does it consist of and how can its components work together to create a healthier world for all of us? 

Continue reading "Exercise is Prevention. Prevention is the Cure for Chronic Conditions."

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IHRSA Submits Comments on Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program

On September 6, IHRSA formally submitted comments to the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) concerning the proposal that Medicare cover the cost of a preventative service incorporating physical activity and diet interventionthe Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP).

The MDPP stands to be the first ever preventative service model certified for expansion by the CMS Innovation Center.

Opportunities for Health Clubs in MDPP

With the proposal that Medicare will cover the cost of MDPP, health clubs are in an advantageous position to administer the program and become a vital component in the healthcare system.

The program consists of educational sessions on healthy habits for individuals at risk of diabetes, evidenced by blood test results (and covered by Medicare), beginning with an initial six-month period with a core curriculum. The curriculum incorporates the importance of physical activity in healthy living, in addition to nutrition and stress management. The primary goal of the program is weight loss and behavior change to prevent against diabetes—both goals achievable in a health club setting. 

To maximize the contribution that the health and fitness industry can make to the success of this major innovation in Medicare, IHRSA focused its comments on ways to position health clubs as settings for the MDPP and to facilitate club participation. 

Per participant, a health club offering MDPP would be reimbursed by Medicare, with some payments dependent on the participant’s percentage of achieved weight loss and attendance level. The provider would be reimbursed up to $450 per person in the first year, and up to $180 in the participant’s second year of the program.

Expanding the Program Nationally

IHRSA encouraged CMS to launch this important effort on a national basis, given that diabetes impacts Americans across the nation.

According to the CDC, 25% of Americans age 65 or older have Type 2 diabetes, and almost half have prediabetes. The CMS is considering an alternate approach of phasing in the program (such as by geographic location or by subpopulation).

Considering Coverage of Other Chronic Diseases

IHRSA stated in its comments to CMS that MDPP and its emphasis on healthier lifestyles and physical activity would also result in cost savings to Medicare if offered to persons at risk of developing other chronic diseases, such as hypertension or cardiovascular problems.

It is important to focus attention on the proven success of preventative service models and the urgency of combatting chronic disease. About one in two adults live with a chronic disease, straining the American workforce and economy, but many diseases can be prevented with participation in physical activity and other healthy habits.

What’s Next?

Now that the comment period has ended for the MDPP rule, it is expected that a formal rule will be published in November 2016 and that potential program providers can apply for CDC recognition in 2017. Then, in 2018, providers can begin to be reimbursed for the service.

When further news is available, IHRSA will continue to share information with clubs. If you have questions or comments, please email IHRSA’s public policy department at


The Missing Sound Bite in the Presidential Campaign

The following is an excerpt from a Morning Consult article, written by Helen Durkin, executive vice president of public policy for IHRSA.  

When the presidential candidates are challenged with voter questions on how they’ll drive down the cost of healthcare, the word “prevention” should pop right out. 

Personal tales of heavy premiums, rising deductibles, and increased out-of-pocket healthcare costs are cropping up all along the campaign trail. 

Voters are complaining that they’re spending more of their own money on healthcare than ever before. And businesses have been saying for years that they can’t sustain current healthcare costs. 

Over about a 10-year period, the percentage of workers enrolled in high-deductible employer-sponsored plans has more than quadrupled, from 10% in 2006 to 46% in 2015. And a family of four now pays roughly $10,000 in medical expenses, or about 19% of its yearly income, with deductibles between $1,000 and $3,000, according to the Commonwealth Fund. 

At the same time, more than half of all Americans (59%, or 190 million-plus people) have one or more chronic health conditions, which alone cost plenty. 

Someone diagnosed with a chronic illness can expect a 12% drop in earnings at the time of onset; and that loss increases to a sustained 18% over time. Realize, too, that these lost wages are on top of the financial load these individuals already carry in disease-related medical costs. All told, treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86% of our nation’s healthcare spending. 

The thing is, a great deal of this economic burden could be alleviated if our healthcare system prioritized prevention and Americans followed healthier living habits. 

After all, many chronic diseases are avoidable, or can be delayed and better managed. 

At least 80% of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, along with more than 40% of cancers could be prevented if we would take action to eliminate the four key risk factors known to fuel chronic diseases: physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet, tobacco use, and too much alcohol. 

A recent study by IHS, commissioned by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), put a dollar amount on the savings our nation could recoup if we made prevention a priority. The study asserts we could save $116 billion a year by assuming modest changes in healthy behavior and healthcare delivery, including increased physical activity, reduced smoking and obesity, and improved treatment rates. 

The bottom line is this: If something doesn’t give, chronic diseases could cost our country $2 trillion in medical expenses and another $794 billion in lost employee productivity each and every year between now and 2030. 

Continue reading Helen Durkin’s article on Morning Consult.


Outmaneuvering Cancer Via Public Policy

The following is an excerpt from a post on The Hill's Congress Blog, written by Helen Durkin, executive vice president of public policy for IHRSA.  

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t tense up when they hear the word “cancer,” or have some other visceral response to it. It’s one of the few stand-alone words in the English language that can elicit remarkably powerful, prevailing emotions. 

Maybe that’s because cancer has affected most of us in one way or another. If we haven’t experienced cancer ourselves, chances are, someone we love and care about has. I lost my mother to cancer. 

Given the widespread physical, emotional, and financial suffering that cancer inflicts, you’d think we’d be more united as a society in doing everything possible to protect ourselves and loved ones against this seemingly ubiquitous disease. 

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about research. Although getting behind research into a cure is critically important to eradicating cancer once and for all. 

Even in President Obama’s State of the Union address, he talked about a new moonshot, raising our sights to become the country that finally cures cancer. 

But again, he was talking about research. 

I’m talking about prevention. 

More specifically, I’m talking about public policies, legislation, community planning, infrastructure, thought leadership, and the grassroots social changes needed to stop cancer before it strikes. 

Continue reading Helen Durkin’s post on The Hill’s Congress Blog


How Health Clubs Can Mark World Cancer Day

February 1 marks the beginning of Cancer Prevention Month in the United States, and February 4 is World Cancer Day.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) estimates that nearly a third of cases of the most common cancers—that's 340,000 cases—could be prevented if people moved more, weighed less, and ate more healthfully. Globally, cancer claims 8.2 million lives every year, 4 million of them prematurely (between the ages of 30 and 69).

World Cancer Day is about raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing individuals, organizations, and governments to take action.

The History of World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day was established in 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the new millenium in Paris. The Paris Charter, which officially marked February 4 as World Cancer Day, focused on promotion of the research for curing as well as preventing the disease, improving patient service, and raising awareness globally. World Cancer Day is marked every year on the fourth of February.

Get Involved

Health clubs are providing their members the tools they need to prevent cancer everyday—a safe, supportive place to exercise and maintain a healthy weight, and information on good health and nutrition. In 2016, the IHRSA Foundation will work to develop new evidence-based programs for people living with cancer, and to document program best practices.

 IHRSA has joined the AICR's "Together We Can" campaign to help raise awareness about the healthy habits—including regular physical activity and nutritious food choices—that can help prevent cancer. Your club can mark World Cancer Day on social media in a few ways:

Click to download World Cancer Day images optimized for social sharing.Spread the word about the health benefits of exercise for cancer patients and survivors. Click the folder to download a folder of images optimized for social sharing. Share them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! 

Join the conversation on Twitter, Faceook, or Instagram using the hashtags #WorldCancerDay, #cancerprevention, and #WhyGetActive 

Share how your club is helping your community prevent and fight cancer using the hashtags or 

Learn more at


ACE Pens Letter to Congress Urging Preventive Care

The American Council on Exercise feels policy makers in Washington, D.C., should be shifting toward preventive care instead of reacting to those who are sick, most notably obese and inactive.

To that end ACE published an open letter to Congress last week explaining that there are steps that can be taken to combat the 1 in 3 obese children and 2 in 3 obese adults.

“As you likely know, the single most effective path to manage rising healthcare costs is to reduce the cost of managing chronic disease. This means that our healthcare system needs to shift from one almost solely focused on responding to people who re ill to investing in preventing people from getting sick in the first place, and empowering those with chronic conditions to help themselves when they can,” the letter read.

For the complete letter, visit the ACE Advocacy page.


Federal Advisory Panel Makes Bold Recommendation for Exercise

Last week, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the advisory panel in charge of determining what preventive medical services health insurers must cover, recommended that overweight Americans with risk factors for heart disease should be offered "intensive" counseling on diet and exercise.

It is the USPSTF's boldest push for physical activity yet.
According to the task force, doctors should offer intensive lifestyle counseling, or referrals for counseling to overweight patients who have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke, such as hypertension, high cholesterol or smoking.

Read more here.


European countries to use sensors to gauge youth eating habits

A couple European countries are turning to technology to possibly cut down high obesity rates.

A project that hopes to change youth's eating habits and lifestyles will use sensors to measure food intake and activity as a way of preventative healthcare.

As of now, the system will be used in Sweden and the Netherlands.

See the full story in BBC News.