A new report by the Trust for America’s Health examines how the health of a community affects its ability to attract new businesses and to ultimately stimulate economic growth. Businesses across the country are discovering that unhealthy employees are more expensive to retain, as they are more likely than their healthy counterparts to miss days of work and to accumulate higher medical costs.
The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, has never rung truer for business leaders, health care providers and economists alike. According to Be Active North Carolina, costs associated with overweight and obesity in our state climbed into the billions in 2006 alone – $2.81 billion in medical costs, $0.96 billion in prescription drug costs and $11.80 billion in lost productivity. Nationwide, these costs totaled approximately $147 billion in 2009.
One business leader who participated in the Trust’s recent analysis of the physical and economic health of communities put it best when he said, “it’s much cheaper to keep people healthy than it is to take care of them when they’re sick….” As North Carolina and other states search for solutions to today’s poor economic climate, may we not overlook the importance of investing in prevention and healthy lifestyles.
To view the report in its entirety, please click here.
– Willona Stallings, PHW Program Coordinator
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the NC Council of Churches. Please visit our website to view more resources on health and faith www.healthandwholeness.org.