Monday, November 23, 2009

Health Debate Overlooks Wellness Programs

“At least one-fourth of all U.S. adults are obese. About one in five smokes. Fewer than half get the recommended amount of physical activity. Despite Americans' poor lifestyle choices and the chronic problems they spawn, health care reform legislation that Congress is considering would do little to encourage people to live healthy lives, according to New Jersey experts. Advocates say Congress is missing an opportunity to expand medicine's focus beyond the diagnosis and treatment of illness. They say lawmakers should do more to boost efforts to prevent the onset of diseases by improving the mental and physical well-being of Americans. Steven Liga, who heads the Middlesex County chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence [and past president of the New Jersey Prevention Network], said Congress should require employer-sponsored insurance plans to cover more wellness and prevention procedures and strategies. ‘It will cost less if people stay healthy. If people are encouraged to have better diets, exercise more...

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