Every December and January here at H&HN, we get inundated with lists from all kinds of health care organizations, businesses and individuals looking back over the previous year’s top trends or predicting the trends that are sure to emerge over the next 12 months. This time around, the lists tended to be somber, ranging from the biggest frustrations with health IT to what chronic diseases baby boomers like me can look forward to in our old age.
Which is why I was happy to run across a blog from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called “The Top 10 Signs We are Building a Culture of Health.” Something pleasant! Something hopeful! Something that won't make health care professionals curl up corners with blankets over their heads. With all the angst we’re feeling, thanks to the dramatic changes now transforming our field, it’s nice to step back and acknowledge that health care is making real progress in some important areas.
That’s not to say that I entirely agree with the RWJF list — or that you will either. I’ve copied the bullet points below and invite you to read more in the Dec. 17 blog by Catherine Arnst. I’d love to find out whether you agree with everything — or anything — that’s on this list, or even whether you think we are, in fact, making any progress at all on building a culture of health in this country.
RWJF’s top 10 signs are:
10. The evidence is in — kids are beginning to slim down. Research shows that the prevalence of obesity among 2- to 5-year-olds dropped by about 40 percent in eight years.
9. Kids are also eating healthier lunches — and liking them. A study found that 70 percent of elementary school leaders nationwide said their students generally liked healthier school lunches rolled out in 2012. That figure was 70 percent in middle schools and 63 percent in high schools.
8. mHealth has arrived! Silicon Valley is putting its innovators to work developing mobile apps that will help us become healthier.
7. The new trend in offices — sitting is bad, walking is good.
6. Cycling takes off. At least 36 urban areas now have bike-sharing programs, up from just six four years ago.
5. Workplace wellness programs are spreading — even cigarette makers are getting with the program.
4. CVS Health kicked the habit, as well, and demonstrated that good health is also good for business.
3. Berkeley, Calif., passed the nation’s first tax on sugary beverages, including soda.
2. College campuses are becoming hotbeds of health. The evidence: There are now 1,477 tobacco-free college campuses, and the so-called Freshman 15 — the amount of weight typically gained during the first year of college — has shrunk to the Freshman 3 to 6 at many campuses.
1.Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, some 13 million formerly uninsured people are now covered by health insurance.
So what do you think? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org