About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Economy Leads to Poor Health Behavior

The recession appears to be making everyone sicker, regardless of their income level.

According to a new survey by the AARP, the declining economy is leading to a greater occurrence of poor health behaviors. Half of people over age 45, for example, said they have taken an over-the-counter or generic drug instead of the one prescribed for them because of financial concerns. The survey also found that Americans over age 45 are:
  • Delaying seeing a doctor, 22%
  • Cutting back on preventive care, 16%
  • Are not filling doctors’ prescriptions, 14%
In addition, women were more likely than men to be influenced by the economy to make bad health decisions.

The increase in poor health choices is not occurring only in lower income groups. The AARP found these behavior changes across the board in households with incomes below $250,000.
For a good take on the report, see Jane Sarasohn-Kahn’s post in The Health Care Blog. Jane argues that these findings indicate that “women's health outcomes could decline in concert with the economy.”
What Does this Mean for Wellness Programs?

Those of us in the HR and wellness community should take action to discourage poor health choices driven by a bad economy.
  • In your next newsletter, a gentle reminder acknowledging that many people may be tempted to cut corners with their health--and that their company wellness program can help them stay healthy.
  • Help employees realize that in the long run, the poor health that results from cutting corners is even more expensive. Flu shots, coaching, and health fairs may become more important than ever.

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