Why prevention (a.k,a. the Wellness Movement) is growing and a key part of solving the health care problem in the U.S and the world.

I believe this is the case because America’s general state of health has not improved over the last nine years in spite of PPACA and the mandatory coverage of “preventative care” under health insurance policies. The fact is primary-care-providermost of the medical community is not trained or positioned to manage patient wellness. By training they are prepared to treat illness. Annual check ups are basic screening events. Yes they are highly effective when and if the doctor catches potential illness during this process. And because of this, I alway recommend that individuals follow the standard guidelines for care as provided under the health reform law.

However, the Wellness Movement as I define it goes well beyond screening. It leans heavily on education and implementation of plans to support clients into actions that deliver healthy eating, and go beyond physical fitness workouts, and aligns with many professionals and para-professionals in the massage therapy, registered dietitian, yoga and even the  mental health community.

Wellness is More than Just Fitness

Image courtesy of stuart miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s look at the fitness industry, which is just one part of the larger wellness industry. This industry includes the Health & Fitness Clubs which provide their “customers with the infrastructure for their workouts and physical activity in exchange for a membership fee.” The North American fitness club market was estimated to be more  than $32 billion in 2017 and the U.S. is likely to be 90% of the total. While that appears to be quite a lot of money, it is small compared to the total wellness expenditures. This spending is based on the fact that global wellness spend runs at about 50% of total health spending. Therefore, if the U.S. spends around $3.3 Trillion per year on health that would put wellness at about $1.5 trillion a year.

The fitness industry includes a North American Membership reach of about 58 million members in 2010, and has shown steady growth, with a slight up tick again in 2017. Therefore I would assume the average member spends around $550 per year to workout in a fitness club.(That’s about what I pay and BTW is far less than the $12,000 a year I spend on health insurance with a $7900 deductible.) Membership as percentage of U.S. Population is about 20% male, 18% female.

The Wellness industry includes many other components such as spas, health & beauty products, yoga studios, etc. I’m getting a bit off topic and into the weeds here, but consider the fact that the Yoga industry revenues, in the U.S., is reported to be around $9 billion a year. Health & Beauty is $1 billion, and Healthy Eating, Nutrition and Weight loss is $700 billion. You get my point. Healthy Eating… is much larger than fitness but still far behind health care spending rates. Maybe if we spent more on wellness, we could reduce healthcare spending…

Reduction of Chronic Illness Savings

Based on 2017 CDC reports, chronic diseases that are avoidable through preventive care services account for 75% of the what we spend on healthcare. And in addition they estimate that this reduces the nations GDP by “$260 billion dollars a year“. A close estimate of the nation’s total healthcare spend is around $3.3 trillion a year. Said differently, if we could prevent the chronic (a.k.a. lifestyle) diseases we could save about 8% as a nation.

I think this is actually a low estimate, given the current spending on healthcare, and wellness industries. But to close out this post I think the only important question is…why don’t we adopt healthier lifestyles and save this enormous sum of money?

Sounds simple and clearly doctors, who perform annual “preventative care” exams are not getting the job done.

[R]esults of recent surveys have surfaced some alarming statistics. Here are just a few” as reported by Brunswick Wellness Coalition, N.C.

One out of every two adults has a chronic disease….About one in three people in North Carolina is considered obese.It is estimated that more than 5,000 children and 12,000 adults in Brunswick County are suffering from food insecurity, which is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life….The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80% of all heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes would be prevented if Americans would stop using tobacco, avoided excessive alcohol consumption, ate healthier and exercised more.

Our Personal Wellness Movement  Could Change Everything

Here is what you need to know…

It is a very local movement. Typically starting within a community, county or company. It is driven by individuals. Health & Wellness Coaches are more like educators. They work between fitness trainers and nutritionists. They don’t prescribe, just try and fill in the gap of knowledge left by health providers. To understand the movement you need to follow an individual in the wellness industry.

The wellness movement, seeking to bridge the gaps left by western medicine, seems to be here to stay.“,-Anna Smith.

Here is good example. Like Jennifer Woodword, who runs Reformed Metabolics, in Bakersfield, California, I too became have interested in the health & wellness movement after seeing my own family impacted by their lack of knowledge of good nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits. This all lead to chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  I didn’t realize my human resources degree from college would bring me directly in front of the national health care crisis as a health plan manager. My years of accountability to control my company’s annual healthcare spend per employee required I focus on the core drivers of cost. My research eventually lead me to becoming a certified health & wellness coach as 50% of U.S. health care spending can be impacted by changes in lifestyle. Specifically healthy lifestyle habits.

On a very personal level, I was also challenged with my own chronic illness which is largely misunderstood or ignored by most doctors who’s practice follows the typical allopathic method as taught in their medical school. Identify the symptom, implement the standard pharmacological treatment to reduce to eliminate the symptom.

Of course, I could chat all day on this topic, but who would listen. To learn more on how I define wellness follow this link. I only hope you have learned a bit more about wellness programs and how they are a growing trend. See you at the gym!

Sources and Inspiration

Health Expenditures“, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
Brunswick Wellness Coalition encourages healthy eating and active living through a variety of programs,,,“, –Life in Brunswick County.
Reformed Metabolics and the Wellness Movement in Bakersfield…“, – Anna Smith.
How Your Business Can Get Ahead of the Wellness Movement Curve“, Kelly Card.
Statistics & Facts” Global Wellness Institute.


Disclaimer: In fact, before starting any exercise, diet or wellness program, be sure you consult your doctor and be sure to learn the proper techniques for that diet before starting a new wellness program.That would defeat the whole purpose of the activity and your injury may even increase your health insurance cost not reduce them. This post and site is intended to be for educational & entertainment purposes only and is not intended to be considered medical advice. Readers should understand the links to products may or may not pay commissions to the author of the post to defray website costs or the time of the writer and/or coach’s time. Linked products are not endorsements of the product unless specifically so designated.