"The choices we make are shaped by the choices we have...
Individual behaviors - smoking, diet, drinking, and exercise - matter for health. But making healthy choices is not just about self-discipline. Some neighborhoods have easy access to fresh, affordable produce; others have only fast food joints and liquor and convenience stores. Some have nice homes; clean parks; safe places to walk, jog, bike or play; and well-financed schools offering gym, art, music, and after-school programs; and some do not." ~ Unnatural Causes, Ten Things to Know About Health
Why BE WELL matters
Three out of every five Minnesotans are overweight or obese - caused by insufficient physical activity and unhealthy eating - increasing risk for heart disease and diabetes, among other chronic illnesses. Meanwhile, while more than one in seven Minnesotans still smoke, approximately half of us are exposed to tobacco smoke on a regular basis. Both the smoking and the exposure lead to various cancers and heart disease.
Obesity and tobacco use/exposure are the two leading causes of death. For all our sakes, we can and must do better.
Prevention pays off
Preventing illness saves money. In Minnesota, insured residents who have one or more chronic diseases spent an average of $12,800 a year on health care services in 2012. That is nearly eight times the $1,600 average spending associated with an insured resident without a chronic condition. In 2014, tobacco use and exposure cost Minnesotans $2.5 billion in health care dollars.