Declining Health-Related Quality of Life in the U.S.

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Why is this important?

This 9-page article provides concrete proof that the U.S. working population is reporting lower quality of life satisfaction due primarily to health-related factors. Another way of thinking about this issue is that we are living longer, but enjoying it less.  Between 2001 and 2012, there was a significant decline in average quality of life ratings by U.S. adults. The decline was partially attributable to increases in several modifiable risk factors, with medical disorders having a larger role than substance use disorders for older adults, but the reverse for younger and middle-aged adults.

Without a more extensive investment in effective worksite wellness programs, it is not likely that these trends will be reversed any time soon.  This data makes a reasonable case for more thoughtful targeting and investment in addressing specific risk factors and medical/behavioral issues for our working populations.

This data is important in making the case for better strategic positioning of employment-related wellness and health management programming initiatives.  There is much that can be done to improve the health of working Americans. This objective finding also confirms the growing concern for declining health literacy and health care literacy of the U.S. population espoused by the National Academy of Sciences.

What can you do with this resource?

Here’s what you could do with this article:

  • Abstract the highlights of the data and summarize this information for senior management.
  • Provide a summary of the highlights of the article for your benefits and HR staff.
  • Use the information to make a case for improved targeting of your wellness program’s interventions.
  • Use the information to communicate with employees about the relevance and importance of your wellness program.
  • Use the key findings as part of your program budget justification.
  • Introduce the concept to your workforce that wellness is not only about the quantity of life, but also about the quality of life.

What was the most important thing I learned from this resource?

The most important thing I learned from this study is…. the bulk of the reasons for perceptions of lower quality of life in America are health and behavior choice related.

In summary, this is an authoritative look at our countries eroding perceptions of satisfaction with our quality of life and provides more evidence-based fuel for justifying enhancements to our employee wellness efforts in work organizations.

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