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Live It Up Movement - Lifestyle Habit Changes to Prevent Chronic Disease and U.S. Medicare Bankruptcy

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U.S. Chronic Condition Rate & Health Care Costs

According to the RAND Corporation’s healthcare report on Multiple Chronic Conditions (MCCs) – a chronic condition is a physical or mental health condition that lasts more than one year and causes functional restrictions or requires ongoing monitoring or treatment. It is a long-term unhealthy condition that can be considered as a disease. The United States spent $4 Trillion on health care cost, ranked #1 in the world. About 60% of the US adults or 81% of the US seniors have one or more kinds of chronic diseases that used almost 90% of the nation’s health care budget. That means the remaining 40% of the healthy adults use merely 10% of the health care cost.

pie chart of percentage of U.S. Adults with chronic conditions, by number of chronic conditions
Percentage of U.S. Adults with Chronic Conditions, by Number of Chronic Conditions (2014) by RAND Corporation

Chronic Conditions Breakdown

Chronic conditions exist in both physical and mental forms. One in four U.S. adults has hypertension, and one in five has high cholesterol (lipid disorders). Mental disorders – mood, and anxiety disorder collectively account for 21.6% of the chronic conditions in the U.S.

bar graph of prevalence of top chronic conditions by RAND Corporation
Prevalence of Top Chronic Conditions by RAND Corporation (2014)

Chronic Conditions & Health Care Cost

The rising prevalence of chronic condition is a challenge to the public health. We spent $4 trillion on health care, of which 90% or $3.6 trillion is being spent on treating chronic conditions. The remaining 40% of the healthy population uses merely 10% of the care cost. Each chronic condition shortens your lifespan by 1.8 years, according to Rand Corporation MCC report.

colorful bar graph of chronic care cost
Prevalence and Spending by Number of Chronic Conditions (2014) by RAND Corporation

Chronic Conditions & COVID-19 Mortality

According to a CDC report on March 31st, 2020, 94% of the U.S. COVID-19 mortality were patients with underlying condition(s). Therefore, chronic conditions are the leading risk factor for COVID-19 mortality.

Evidence-Based Habits to Prevent Chronic Disease

Fortunately, Harvard School of Public Health study reveals that following 5 simple habits may prolong your life by 10 years or more. The study started by following participants starting at the age of 50. The 5 healthy habits are no smoking, no excess drinking, regular exercise, diet, and weight control. The result shows that participants were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer when compared to those with the least healthy lifestyles throughout the 30-year study period.

Stanford Center on Longevity’s Study discovered that sleep, stress management, social engagement, and financial security have significant impact to your quality of life. One of these poor lifestyle habits can lead to other poor lifestyle habits and cause chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Stanford concluded that practicing these healthy habits can prevent chronic disease, improve quality of life, and extend longevity. The Liu Foundation thus integrated the 4 Stanford healthy habits to educate, motivate, coach, and condition personal behavior change to benefit public health.

According to the Liu Foundation’s physician advisors, Dr. C.P. Chang and Dr. Xin Wang, getting annual medical checkups is critical to prevent chronic disease and maintain good health. Physicians recommend getting a doctor’s checkup once a year for most people and semi-annually for seniors.

10 Lifestyle Habits

10 Lifestyle Habits

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet starts with vegetables, white meat, and healthy carbs. Eating a well nutritious diet can help maintain your weight, improve your sleep quality, and lower your blood pressure.

Regular Exercise

Daily Exercise is any movement that makes you move around, get your heart pumping, and sweat. Exercising daily can improve your strength and keep your blood flowing smoothly. Without exercise, it can increase your health risks by developing heart disease, strokes, and obesity.

Healthy Body Weight

Weight control is to help you manage and maintain a healthy body weight. Reaching a healthy weight can prevent weight-related chronic conditions like heart diseases, diabetes, enhance sleep, and improve your overall health.

No Excess Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption is not worth the short and long damages it creates to your health. For start it lead to problems such as liver disease, pancreatitis, cancer, brain damage, malnourishment, and osteoporosis. In addition to these damages certain forms of alcohol raise body fat and increase the risk of stroke.

No Smoking

Smoking causes a variety of chronic diseases in the body. To name a few, smoking raises the chances of cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking can also cause emphysema, chronic bronchitis, an increased risk of infection, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Quality Sleep

Quality Sleep lets your body rest and recharge for another full day. Lack of sleep can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Getting the recommended amount of sleep can maintain your weight, lower your risk for serious health problems, and improve your mood.

Stress Management

Stress is necessary for the body to bring alertness to a high-priority task. However, too much stress can lead to chronic disease. Taking occasional breaks from work and trying meditation techniques whenever you’re stressed. Lower stress can lead to better sleep, more control over your weight, less muscle tension, and an overall positive mood.

Social Engagement

Maintaining a good social life helps you build healthier relationships with others. Having healthy relationships enables you to create boundaries that encourage communication, trust, and healthy conflict.

Financial Security

Having a financial plan helps you decide the short-term and long-term financial goals. Fear and stress from money problems can damage your self-esteem, make you feel flawed, and fill you with a sense of despair. By creating a financial plan, you can prepare for emergencies, achieve financial security and get early retirement.

Regular Checkup

Regular health checkups and blood tests can prevent you from getting sick and diagnose disease early on. It is important to have regularly scheduled health checkups with your family doctor to review your medical history and to obtain any necessary screenings.

CDC's View on Chronic Disease Prevention

"Many chronic diseases are caused by key risk behaviors. By making healthy choices, you can reduce your likelihood of getting a chronic disease and improve your quality of life."

Dr. Woolf's Professional Warnings

“It would take the U.S. more than 100 years to catch up to the average life expectancy other wealthy countries reached by 2016. We’re making a huge mistake if we don’t step back and look at the root causes. The prescription for the country is we’ve got to help these adversely affected people. And if we don’t, we’re literally going to pay with our lives.’’
Dr. Woolf headshot
Steven Woolf, M.D., M.P.H
Director Emeritus, VCU Center on Society and Health

Holistic Health Approach

Holistic health is a methodology to address multiple areas of health, instead of focusing only on one specific health problem. The U.S. CDC report that everyday lifestyle choices account for 53% of key factors influencing an individual’s state of health, whereas genes only account for 18%, and environment 19%. LIU App integrates 10 proven healthy lifestyle choices covering five holistic health pillars – physical, mental, social, financial, and medical – to improve quality of life, prevent diseases, and help one live a healthier life.

LIU App Aims for Healthy Behaviors

The Harvard study inspired the Joe and Emmy Liu Family Foundation to devote resources for a holistic lifestyle choices education and behavior conditioning app – using innovative digital technology to stop chronic disease.

The LIU App integrates 10 evidence-based healthy lifestyle habits with awareness education, self-motivation, behavior conditioning, and long-term adherence in mind, that covers Harvard’s five physical healthy lifestyles, and Stanford Center on Longevity’s Study on mental mindsets, financial plan, and social support for mood and anxiety disorder prevention, and physicians recommendations for annual doctor’s checkup. Based on Harvard’s study, long-term adherence to a holistic healthy lifestyle habits can earn you a life free of chronic diseases.

Educate, Motivate, Coach & Condition

The LIU App uses flashcard-based behavior trackers to educate user, with a set of Health Score & Longevity Range Calculator to motivate and condition users’ lifestyle behaviors and long-term adherence.

Operant Behavior Conditioning

LIU App invented the Health Score & Longevity Range Calculator using positive and negative behavior reinforcements in a simple scoring system to motivate users:

Healthy Life Without Good Gene and Environment

Traditional thinking pushed the idea that good genes and a healthy environment were necessary to achieve a healthy longevity. However, modern telehealth has made preventive health much easier, and bringing the potential for improved health to a larger segment of the population. Using LIU App to form good lifestyle habits can help users achieve preventive health and quality of life anyplace and anytime, thus can delay chronic diseases. The bottom-line is using the LIU App can help people live healthier and happier.

Preventing chronic diseases is a person’s lifetime commitment. Your proactive involvement and volunteering are highly appreciated.

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