As populations get older and live longer, some of the major illnesses we see affecting people, and which are straining health systems, are in part caused by lifestyle choices and are preventable. For example obesity, cardiovascular diseases, osteopathy, and even depression are all impacted to varying degrees by addiction to food, tobacco and lack of exercise.
As such, prevention is an integral part of healthcare, from testing blood pressure and cholesterol to educating citizens about the risk of over-eating, smoking and the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle.
The introduction of initiatives that focus on prevention will likely increase in the coming years with the aim of avoiding people becoming unwell in the first place, and to improve health outcomes.
The biggest challenge for moving towards healthcare systems that focus on prevention and population management is that it requires behavioral change on an incredibly large scale, which will be a huge hurdle, and one that shouldn’t be underestimated. It will require the healthcare industry, education providers, policy makers, and insurance companies to work together and this will take many years.