Sustainability in Healthcare

Implementing services to target risk factors for specific conditions and diseases can lead to prevention of the disease itself. Modifiable risk factors such as an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity can be prevented in the early stages of one’s life. For example, childhood obesity is a rising public health concern worldwide. Obesity is a huge predictor for many non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity are vast predictors of obesity, especially in children. Implementing interventions and programs in schools to improve children’s eating habits and their level of physical activity will reduce their risk of obesity, due to modifying these risk factors. This then reduces the risk of chronic illnesses in the future. Prevention measures are an essential aspect of healthcare that we need to focus on to achieve sustainability in healthcare in terms of reducing the burden of chronic illnesses in the future.

63% of all deaths worldwide are currently caused by chronic diseases. This number is seen to increase due to our growing population and our growing aging population. The ever-growing burden of disease has an economic toll on our society as well. Action must be taken immediately, and the most effective way to make a positive impact last is through a population and prevention approach, as it targets behavioral change. Behavioral change will lead to positive modification of risk factors which will lead to a lower risk of chronic disease. This leads to a healthy population for the future.

Sources: David E. Bloom & Elizabeth Cafiero & Eva Jané-Llopis & Shafika Abrahams-Gessel & Lakshmi Reddy Bloom & Sana Fathima & Andrea B. Feigl & Tom Gaziano & Ali Hamandi & Mona Mowafi & Danny O’Farrell & Emre, 2012. "The Global Economic Burden of Noncommunicable Diseases," PGDA Working Papers 8712, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.

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