Health Team

Experts say people need to be more responsible for own health

Posted March 20, 2012

— Personal responsibility has been lacking in the debate over how to contain health care costs, several experts said Tuesday during a day-long forum on the future of health care in North Carolina.

The "What the Health: Can We Survive Our Healthcare System?” forum, sponsored by the NC SPIN statewide talk show, attracted a variety of medical experts for a healthy conversation on solutions to the problems facing the nation's system of care.

"We have a system right now that is not sustainable," said Lanier Cansler, former secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, echoing a sentiment offered by others.

Costs continue to rise, chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure are more widespread nationwide and federal and state governments are straining under the load of expanded payments to care for the elderly and needy.

Panelists talked about the critical need for improved community access to care, better utilization of cost-saving technology like electronic medical records and promoting a partnership to put care before profit.

"We've got to be as efficient and effective and also caring in terms of how that innovation gets to patients. So, we understand that it starts with change by us," said Jack Bailey, senior vice president of GlaxoSmithKline.

"We've had a very polite conversation, but the truth of the matter is, someone's savings is someone else's revenue," said Maureen O’Conner, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Blood pressure generic Initiative launched to get people more involved in health care

Many said, however, that reforming the U.S. health care system boils down to something more personal – everyone taking the responsibility to improve his or her health. That could involve making lifestyle changes or simply developing a better relationship with a primary care physician.

"The majority of people in our state don't know their blood pressure, their weight, their blood glucose, their cholesterol," forum organizer Tom Campbell said, noting the results of a recent survey commissioned by the North Carolina Dental Society.

Toward that end, Campbell announced a new statewide initiative, called "A Healthier NC," that will focus on getting people to learn more about their personal health and encourage more collaboration by health care providers.

"It's the health system," said Dr. Victor Dzau, chief executive of Duke University Health System. "It's not only the government's responsibility, it's not only employers, it's everybody's responsibility."


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  • baracus Mar 28, 2012

    "Huh? Just about everyone knows if something is healthy or not. It isn't rocket science."

    For the simple things sure, but beyond that things get hairy. I mean, look at the story about using antibiotics to treat sinus infections. Despite studies showing that in most cases they do not hasten recovery, most of the people responding "know" that sinus infections should be treated with antibiotics.

  • movetomaui Mar 28, 2012

    That doesn't even make any sense at all!!! Why in the world should I have to be responsible for my own health????? That's just craziness!

  • Ambygirl Mar 28, 2012

    GOOD GRIEF!! If I hear it's not rocket science one more time I'm going to throw up!

    We have become an age of 'we can't think for ourselves' and let everyone else tell us what we need to do. We all know we should eat healthy and we should be responsible for our bodies. Just get off your can and get moving! Stop with all the junk food and try eating your vegetables like you were told to when you were a kid!! USE YOUR BRAINS PEOPLE!!

  • nonemeant Mar 27, 2012

    I don't know about anybody else; but I have been put in my place.

  • bill0 Mar 27, 2012

    "Why would people want to be responsible for their own health care when they can let the government take care of them???

    Thanks alot Obama!"

    It's pretty darn funny to read someone championing personal responsibility in the same post as blasting Obama for making people fat!

    Nevermind that the controversial part of Obamacare is that it makes people take responsibility for the cost of the healthcare aka the "individual mandate."

    "The real problem is that most people don't have a clue about what's good for them. "

    Huh? Just about everyone knows if something is healthy or not. It isn't rocket science. Every fat person knows that they should eat less and exercise more. They just don't. Everyone knows they shouldn't smoke, but lots of people do.

  • Pseudonym Mar 26, 2012

    How dare they tell me I'm responsible for my own health!! It's not my fault I'm overweight, it's McDonald's. It's not my fault I have diabetes, it's Krispy Kreme's. It's not my fault I had a heart attack at 45, it's Burger King's. And it's not my fault that healthcare costs are skyrocketing, it's greedy doctors, hospitals and insurance companies.

  • bubbaOK Mar 26, 2012

    People are responsible for their own health, it's the health care industry behemoth which has become no longer user friendly and just plain dicey and haphazard.

  • sllenterprises Mar 23, 2012

    Look "adults"-let's stop making politics, religion, and insurance companies the scapegoat for health issues! The bottom line is people don't get obese or get high blood pressure overnight, it comes from months and years of not taking care of ourselves! I've lost 48 pounds total in the past 2 years all because I knew I couldn't continue going the way I was and now I feel better and have more energy and strength at 40 yrs old than I did when I was 20! Like most people have said, you know what's right, just do it and stop making excuses! Planet Fitness charges $10 a month for unlimited access, no contract! Don't tell me an overweight, chronically unhealthy person can't afford $10 a month! That's less than the typical fattening meals that an obese person eats in a day!! Health insurance companies will continue to raise fees as long as people continue to get bigger and unhealthier! We are the cause of all this so we can fix it-get up, get out, and exercise, it's that simple!

  • RaleighRocks Mar 22, 2012

    You do not need a gym or weights to work out and lose weight. Take a walk, drink water instead of soda (diet sodas are terrible for you), share an entree and dessert (or skip dessert), ride a bike, take the stairs, park on the next row out instead of right in front, the list goes on and on. This is not rocket science. The obesity epidemic has hit the country as our lifestyles have changed. It is not easy, but then again, very few things in life that are good for you are. It takes self-control, and that is not something we seem to teach/talk about much anymore.

  • WBF Mar 22, 2012

    I agree that personal choices matter, but our choices aren't made in a vacuum. Everyone faces different circumstances. Some people have gym memberships paid by their employer. I don't. Access to affordable, healthy food choices--which many of us take for granted--varies greatly by community. Also, it is one thing to hold adults accountable for their health, but another to blame children--which is when many chronic diseases originate. Yes - adults should take personal responsibility for their own health, but that doesn't excuse our collective responsibility to encourage good choices and positive behaviors.