“Health Scares Reduce Smoking but Not Waistlines, Survey Finds”

16 Feb


A study reported in the New York Times shows how our behavior is different when it comes to addressing a medical crisis and preventing another from happening:

Smokers are three times more likely to quit if they get a wake-up call in the form of a heart attack, stroke, lung disease or cancer diagnosis, a new study has found.

But obese and overweight people lose two to three pounds at most after being diagnosed with a serious illness like heart disease or diabetes, according to the same report. The study, which looked at weight loss only in people under age 75, was published on Monday in The Archives of Internal Medicine.

It’s not entirely clear why heart disease would motivate patients to quit smoking but not to slim down, but the author of the paper noted that many health plans don’t cover weight-loss programs (my emphasis), with the exception of bariatric surgery, while many businesses and local health departments offer free or low-cost smoking cessation programs.

“People really are open to changing their behaviors after a health event, and this could really be a window of opportunity,” said study author Patricia S. Keenan, assistant professor of health policy at Yale School of Medicine. “I’m not sure the health care system is capitalizing on it, in terms of giving people the support they need to make these changes as they go forward (my emphasis).”

Friends, we’ve got an opportunity here. In the course of our research we’ve identified companies that are offering extended well-care benefits, such as weight loss support, and are achieving positive results for the patients and lower health care claims– why are we all not jumping on this bandwagon?

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One Response to ““Health Scares Reduce Smoking but Not Waistlines, Survey Finds””

  1. natashaclarck April 13, 2009 at 5:36 am #

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of an early death in the world. The immediate health benefits of quitting smoking are substantial. Heart rate and blood pressure, which were abnormally high while smoking, begin to return to normal.

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