A letter from @MikeEisenhart —

I’m so sick of everyone being sick! Seriously, I think it’s total bullshit that more than 7 out of every 10 deaths in the United States are due to chronic disease with somewhere between 250-700K of them preventable. So I figure it’s time to do something.It’s true, according to the CDC, there are more than a QUARTER MILLION preventable deaths each year in the United States.  What’s worse, I’m not even sure they’re counting the 440,000 that are due to medical error which qualifies it as the 3rd leading cause of death.  That’s right: Heart Disease (mostly preventable) followed by Cancer (many forms preventable) followed by….healthcare providers (mostly preventable).

If that’s as horrifying to you as it is to me, it’s probably because it should be.  Hundreds of thousands of lives cut short — EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.

and….it’s not only (literally) killing us….it’s KILLING U.S. – as in, the essence of the U.S.preventabledeaths
Here are a couple of statistics, ideas and concepts that leave me feeling like we can do better.

  • The current generation may be the first ever where American children will not necessarily outlive their parents.  Experts began ringing this bell as early as 2005, when they stated “we conclude that the steady rise in life expectancy during the past two centuries may soon come to an end.”
  • Our businesses are less competitive on the global stage than they should be.  Although we appear to have bounced back from 7th (during recession) to 3rd in the 2015 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum there are “many risks that loom on the horizon”, not the least of which is the fact that we rank 30th in the area referred to as “Basic Requirements”, which includes health of the population.  In regards to the U.S. the report stated: “the country will have to embark on a range of reforms to ensure that productivity growth picks up. These include improving the quality of education (18th), in particular at the primary level, and continuing to stabilize its macroeconomic environment (96th), which must include addressing high health and social security costs”  – at 86 cents on every healthcare dollar spent….that’s a lot of zeroes.
  • At last check (2014 report) leisure time physical activity in the U.S. peaked between 18 and 24 years old with less than 1/2 of the adult population meeting recommendations for aerobic activity and less than 1/4th meeting the standard for muscle strengthening activity.

Perhaps it time we all got to work fixing the problem as so astutely pointed out in a recent JAMA piece.  I’m not talking about magic….I’m talking about doing the work.  Actually helping people improve their health, prevent and CURE disease and take their lives back.  Perhaps it’s time we help America to break the yoke that it is so clearly restrained by….the shackle that is keeping us from living out our freedoms….a whole new type of oppression and tyranny, one which we all had a hand in creating….and therefore should all have a hand in fixing.

Yes, this is a call to take action – I’m calling on YOU.

But it’s a fun call to action, one which promises to:

  • Help build what RWJF so aptly calls a culture of health where “everyone deserves to live the healthiest life possible”
  • Bring some positive attention to our great profession and the most passionate among us by celebrating our professional purpose — helping people to move better and more as we do something to transform society.

So if you’re one of us…..one of the professionals who believes the role of a health care provider extends far beyond the walls of the office, all the way into the community…..we’re looking for you.  Join us.

Mike Eisenhart, PT

Managing Partner, Pro-Activity Associates

President, American Physical Therapy Association of NJ