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ODU's Colberg-Ochs Writes Column on the Benefits of Prevention

Old Dominion University exercise science professor Sheri Colberg-Ochs recently wrote an op-ed piece for the Daily Press editorial page on the merits of preventive care.

With the health care debate intensifying in the United States, one question being asked is whether preventive care would actually save the health care system money, or be too expensive at the front end to justify the cost.

Colberg-Ochs argues in her Aug. 16 op-ed that everyone can practice prevention in the form of healthy lifestyles, "and it doesn't cost taxpayers a dime."

In the opinion piece, she writes that exercise is medicine - "actually eliciting better health outcomes than prescribed medications" in many cases.

She goes on to say: "Better nutrition and higher levels of physical activity don't increase cost, and they bring a huge payoff in terms of lower health care costs, increased productivity and greater quality of life. Getting more physically fit, making small changes to eat healthier, incorporating some kind of physical movement into everyday life - these are the main keys to health, longevity and disease prevention."

Colberg-Ochs, who is also an adjunct professor of internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, notes that a public survey conducted two years ago by the American College of Sports Medicine found that nearly two-thirds of patients would be more interested in exercising to stay healthy if they got support and additional resources from their doctor.

"Physicians and other health care providers should encourage patients to become physically active in every way possible," Colberg-Ochs states.

"While we trim unnecessary costs to better manage health-care resources, let's keep in mind the powerful and necessary cost-effective potential of healthy lifestyles. Truly, exercise is medicine - an inexpensive, safe and effective prescription for better health."

The entire article can be viewed at http://www.dailypress.com/news/opinion/dp-op_health_0816aug16,0,2729631.story.

This article was posted on: August 21, 2009

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