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Proactive Approach to Healthy Lifestyle and Chronic Care Management Pays Off, According to Studies in Population Health Management

New Rochelle, NY, January 11, 2011—Healthy lifestyle choices can quickly begin to reduce an individual’s risk of common chronic conditions, and once affected, patients with chronic diseases are more likely to stay out of the hospital if their disease is managed proactively, according to two studies presented in the current issue of Population Health Management, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The articles are available free online

Making healthy lifestyle changes and sticking to them offers significant short-term benefits and can reduce a person’s risk of developing common chronic conditions, as shown by the outcomes of a study conducted by Nicolaas Pronk, PhD, and colleagues from JourneyWell, HealthPartners, HealthPartners Research Foundation, and the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis. For the purposes of this study, the authors defined adherence to an “optimal lifestyle” as abstinence from smoking, adequate physical activity, eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and consuming limited or no alcohol. They report significantly lower incidences of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and back pain, among the individuals who adopted and maintained an optimal lifestyle over a two-year period compared to those who did not. They describe the link between individual components of an optimal lifestyle and the incidence of specific chronic conditions in the article entitled, “The Association Between Optimal Lifestyle Adherence and Short-Term Incidence of Chronic Conditions among Employees.”

Among patients with chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, diabetes, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Brent Hamar, DDS, MPH, and colleagues from Healthways, Inc. (Franklin, TN) and Healthways International (Hennigsdorf, Germany) found that a proactive management program resulted in fewer hospital admissions. A key aspect of the program was scheduled telephone calls made by nurses to check on the patient’s status. In the article entitled, “The Impact of a Proactive Chronic Care Management Program on Hospital Admission Rates in a German Health Insurance Society,” the authors report that the reduction in hospital admission rates was greater among patients at higher risk, and the admissions rate decreased as the number of calls increased.

“We now have additional evidence to support the notion that changing bad behaviors is not only good medicine, it is cost-effective too," says Journal Editor-in-Chief David B. Nash, MD, MBA, Dean, Jefferson School of Population Health (Philadelphia, PA).

Population Health Management is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published bimonthly in print and online that reflects the expanding scope of health care management and quality. The Journal delivers a comprehensive, integrated approach to the field of population health and provides information designed to improve the systems and policies that affect health care quality, access, and outcomes, thereby improving the health of an entire population. Comprising of peer-reviewed original research papers, clinical research, and case studies, the content includes a broad range of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as focusing on various aspects of prevention and wellness. Tables of content and a free sample issue may be viewed online.

Population Health Management is the Official Journal of the Care Continuum Alliance.