Universal Access to Health Promotion: A Sustainable Strategy to Improve Health Equity, Reduce Employer and Government Medical Costs and Make Colorado the Healthiest State in the Nation

Universal Access to Health Promotion Colorado Forum
Click image to view video of the May 30, 2018 Forum in Colorado

We need your help in thinking through a rather bold idea: making health promotion universally available to all people in Colorado, with the goal of improving health equity, reducing employer and government medical costs, and making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.

A growing body of research has shown that an estimated 80% of all diseases can be prevented for people who eat nutritious foods, are physically active and avoid tobacco, excess alcohol and other toxins. Equally important, it may be possible to avoid an estimated 25% of all medical spending and delay the onset of disability by a decade through the practice of healthy lifestyle. That’s a reality that may be possible… if we act boldly and soon. Our current reality is that life expectancy has been declining in the United States for three years, and the health status of the US population is among the worst of all developed nations, this is despite the US spending twice as much per capita as other developed nations. Furthermore, medical costs are not sustainable for individuals, employers, and state and federal governments.

Comprehensive health promotion programs in workplace and clinical settings have been successful in improving health behaviors and underlying health conditions, and preventing or delaying the onset of chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. In many cases, these programs reduce medical spending and absenteeism to such an extent that they save more than they cost. Unfortunately, very few people, probably less than 5%, have access to comprehensive evidence-based health promotion programs. See the white paper for documentation of these findings and more details.

This concept describes an approach that may be feasible in Colorado to provide access to comprehensive health promotion programs to all Coloradans with minimal to no funding from local, state and federal governments.


Forum Organizing Committee

Brad Cooper, CEO, US Corporate Wellness
Gabriel Guillaume, President & CEO, LiveWell Colorado
John Harris, MEd, Chair, Health Promotion Advocates
James O. Hill, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics & Medicine and Director, Center for Human Nutrition, University of Colorado
Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, President and CEO, KAK Consulting, LLC
Lee S. Newman, MD, MA, Director and Professor, Center for Health, Work & Environment, Colorado School of Public Health
Michael P. O’Donnell, PhD, CEO, Art and Science of Health Promotion Institute
Donna Marshall, Founder, Colorado Business Group on Health
Katherine (Blair) Mulready, JD, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Colorado Hospital Association