Creative entrepreneurs are developing companies and products to help drive down medical care costs and take a proactive approach to keeping Americans healthy.
Due to an asthmatic condition, Mel Zuckerman, founder of Canyon Ranch and a pioneer in the health and wellness industry, was told he couldn’t exercise as a child. So he didn’t. For 40 years. Until he ended up at a “fat farm.”
That’s where he had his aha moment. While at the “fat farm,” he discovered that he actually could exercise. And he felt empowered.
“I was feeling like I had never felt in the first 50 years of my life,” he said during the Lake Nona Impact Forum held in Orlando in October. And after losing 30 pounds in four weeks, he thought, “I need to feel this way for the rest of my life.”
With that notion, he immediately wanted to pass along this discovery to others. So, without wasting any time, he and his wife built the first Canyon Ranch resort in 1978.
“Most people don’t realize how empowered they will feel if they live a healthy lifestyle,” he said.
Thirty-five years later, his concept is still going strong. In fact, today it is recognized worldwide as the gold standard for healthy vacations.
Some of the new technologies used in the medical field today sound like science fiction, but they are, in fact, very real. And they are flip-flopping the industry like never before.
Remember back in 2000 when the human genome was sequenced? Doctors had painstakingly lined up all 6 million base pairs of an individual’s DNA. It was, no doubt, an amazing feat. In fact, it was heralded as something that would revolutionize the way we diagnose and prevent human disease.
So, what happened next?
One huge hurdle, of course, was cost. That first genome took 15 years to create, and the price tag was a whopping $3 million. Fast forward to today, though, and we can now sequence a human genome for about $1,000 in a mere 24 hours.
It’s a remarkable technological advancement, indeed. And it’s one way that technology is beginning to provide more individualized care.
“Because that’s what we all want when we go to the doctor,” said Dr. Alex Parker at the Lake Nona Impact Forum in Orlando last month. “We don’t want to know ‘what’s the answer for everybody with this disease?’ We want to know ’what’s the answer for me?’”
As waistlines continue to expand at an alarming rate, how do we begin to tackle the weight-gain pandemic?
Dr. Samuel Klein takes obesity every seriously. And he should. After all, it’s his job and main focus 24/7.
As the director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine, he is a leading researcher on obesity. And there is, no doubt, plenty of research to be done. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a clear understanding of this disease, so that can make it difficult to treat.
Sadly, obesity has become one of the top public health issues facing the nation and the world today. In fact, this year, obesity was designated as a chronic disease by the American Medical Association.