Intensive therapeutic lifestyle medicine intervention could help reverse chronic disease — leading to significant health care cost savings — according to a recent study conducted by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
The study examined four individual patient cases of disease reversal achieved through intensive lifestyle changes and the associated reduction in health care costs. A substantial potential cost savings for both the patients and their insurance providers was identified in each case.
For an adult male who lost up to 200 pounds after committing to a lifestyle change for six months, the potential savings in avoided discrete medical costs reached $92,000. One formerly obese participant avoided bilateral knee replacements at a cost of $58,000 to $68,000, the new study noted.
The authors remind us, “Chronic disease places an enormous economic burden on both individuals and the healthcare system, and existing fee-for-service models of healthcare prioritize symptom management, medications, and procedures over treating the root causes of disease through changing health behaviors.”
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