4 solutions for your New Year’s health-savings resolution
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If you’ve resolved to save money in the coming year, a great place to start is by looking at your own health. Bad health is very expensive. Co-pays for office visits, drugs, and tests, lost time from work, medical travel costs, and other unreimbursed costs all add up. Chronic disease is especially expensive. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that we spend 75 cents of every healthcare dollar on treating chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The 130 million Americans with chronic disease cost more than $2.7 trillion annually, accounting for 86 percent of our healthcare costs.

To avoid the financial burden and dangers of chronic disease, take care of yourself. Make these health savings resolutions this year: 

Move

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Do it every day and for at least half an hour. Why? The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks physical inactivity as the fourth-biggest preventable killer globally, causing 3.2 million deaths annually. A sedentary lifestyle is the real culprit behind most chronic diseases, especially heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Walking only 30 minutes a day most days could save you $2,500 a years on medical costs related to heart disease. The only good part about the huge expenses of a chronic illness like heart disease or diabetes is that you may not have to spend the money for long. Type 2 diabetes can shorten your lifespan by as much as 23 years.

Stand, don’t sit

Sitting is the new smoking. Research suggests that sitting for just two continuous hours a day increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, and neck pain. The more you sit, the greater your risk. For every hour spent sitting down watching TV, your life expectancy is reduced by 21.8 minutes. Put another way, you pay for every evening spent sitting around watching TV or playing video games by shortening your life — and your future earnings. The cost of sitting is high indeed.

Eat better

Being sedentary is a big reason for expensive chronic diseases, but poor diet plays a huge role as well. To reduce your risk, eat a better diet. Cut out processed and manufactured foods, reduce or eliminate dairy foods, and cut back on foods with gluten. Sugar in any form is a toxin — limit how much you eat.

Focus on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and good fats. I always tell my patients to count chemicals, not calories — focus on the nutrients in your foods, not the calories, fat grams, or carb grams. Aim for a variety of healthy whole foods at every meal — and try to eat regularly, without skipping meals. Take care of your gut by eating more fermented foods and taking a probiotic supplement.

We still don’t know why for sure, but people who eat a lot of fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles are less likely to develop a chronic disease. My patients often complain to me that eating better is more expensive. I reply, “The average person with diabetes spends twice as much on medical care as someone without it. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money enjoying good food?” 

Overhaul your lifestyle

In addition to sitting less, moving more, and eating better, cut your risk of an expensive chronic disease by improving your overall lifestyle. A flood of recent studies has shown how important it is to cut stress, get more sleep, and lead an active, engaged life, even for people who already have a chronic disease. Making sleep a priority doesn’t cost anything and could lead to massive healthcare savings, to say nothing of a much better quality of life.

Dr. Rob Silverman thinks differently. A practitioner of functional nutrition, he believes that healing and vibrant good health come from a holistic approach. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller Inside-Out Health: A Revolutionary Approach to Your Body. In his book, Dr. Rob shows you exactly how to turn your health around in an entirely new and different way. He was named the 2015 ACA Sports Chiropractor of the year.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.