One area where Muncie and Delaware County will experience the most dramatic changes is our health and wellness.
Muncie Voice has published numerous articles about our poor rankings in health and wellness. Based on comparable communities throughout Indiana, we rank near the bottom. When comparing one state to another, we also rank near the bottom.
Our intake of processed foods is contributing to our problem. Our entire food system is unsustainable at its present growth.
Besides the poor food choices available within our fast food culture, we eat too much of it, smoke too much, use too many drugs and exercise too little. The negative consequences are catching up with individuals and our community.
Ask our economic developers. Potential employers are placing more emphasis on health rankings since these numbers assess the quality of the available workforce. Poor rankings will restrict our ability to attract quality employers.
As healthcare reform shifts toward taking personal responsibility, our deliverer of services and public health administrator will be IU/BMH. Take a visit to their emergency room and gauge for yourself how we are doing. Talk to the ER staff and administrators and ask them about our poor choices.
Our poor choices negatively impact our community from a financial perspective too. Just about every available study presents the findings that 80-90% of diseases inflicting our citizens are preventable.
Obesity, diabetes, coronary disease, and a variety of cancers are all related to the food we eat and how we take care of ourselves. We have control over the outcomes, and we are choosing to sit on the couch, eat junk, take expensive prescriptions, and visit the hospital for costly procedures.
It’s a paradox, while we have the personal freedom to eat, drink and enjoy life, how much freedom do we really have if we rely on the hospital or physician to fix us once we break down? Or, how much freedom do we have if we rely on pharmaceutical companies to create a pill to assist us with diseases we develop?
It’s been reported that around 60% of personal bankruptcies are due to medical costs. How many uninsured families are one back-yard accident from being financially ruined or deep in debt to a local hospital and doctors office?
Lots of health related issues coming together at the same time meaning we can no longer “kick this can down the road” any further. Congress needs to stop trying to attack the Affordable Care Act and start addressing policies impacting our public health. We can’t afford the philosophy of profits for a few over sound public health policies for the good of the majority.
According to the Director of Life Science Policy at University of California at Berkeley, Dr. David Duncan:
Modern society is on the cusp of a vital era of health care, one in which medicine will shift from primarily addressing illness to a greater emphasis on prediction and prevention, improved diagnosis, and on individualized care. This historic transformation…a rising demand for individuals to understand and take charge of their own health.
Dr. Duncan and others at the Kaufmann Foundation have created a “Person Health Manifesto” to help promote the social changes required. It would be advantagous for Muncie/Delaware County to begin developing their own manifesto.
To read the Kaufmann Foundations entire “Personal Health Manifesto,” go to www.kaufmann.org/manifesto.