Employers, local government, media, and even the local Walmarts have joined forces in Yuma County, Arizona, to support individuals who plan to adopt healthier lifestyles. HY-2011 focuses on decreasing obesity, improving nutrition, increasing exercise, and decreasing addiction to smoking, alcohol, and street drugs. The following excerpt from the core story of HY-2011 outlines the motivation for these efforts -
"Healthy citizens are the foundation of a healthy society. However, obesity, malnutrition, sedentary lifestyles and addiction have become too much the American norm.
Our forefathers created a system of governance that shaped America into the predominant economic driver of the 20th century. Our standard of living rose five-fold, giving us the economic prosperity to help rebuild Europe and Japan even after incurring the tremendous costs of WWII. Our strong economic momentum continued, providing the foundation for triumph in the Cold War.
However, our prosperity is in jeopardy. Healthcare costs have been rising faster than inflation for 50 years. The aging population adds further fuel to these escalating costs, as does the staggering burden of unhealthy lifestyles. Obesity, caused by a poor diet and sedentary habits, is an epidemic that we can ill afford. Our food supply has evolved from nutritious whole foods to high fat, high sugar and highly processed but well-advertised junk. Malnutrition is often no longer the lack of food but the result of an abundance of high caloric food with little nutritional value.
Neither our healthcare system nor our government has been successful in improving lifestyle choices, resulting in the first American generation that is experiencing a decline in quality of life. This has occurred despite spending twice as much on healthcare per person as other developed countries. These issues, on top of a high level of public and private debt, create an unstable future.
Healthy Yuma 2011 is designed to successfully address these challenges by creating positive momentum through the integration of multiple local efforts."
The two founding institutions are the Yuma Regional Medical Center and the Yuma Sun newspaper. Since 50% of healthcare costs can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyle choices, local efforts such as HY-2011 might be just what the doctors haven't been able to order.