What Are Health Insurance Companies Paying For?

May 19th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

The title of this article is great news for trainers and type 2 diabetics alike: Structured Exercise Programs Help Lower Blood Sugar, Study Finds.

This is one of those “study of studies” kinds of studies, which I find fascinating in the research field.  Not having any idea how a regular study with actual people is performed, I think it’s entertaining to learn that you can just study the studies other people have performed and call THAT a study and move on.

But that isn’t my point.  My point is: the people living with type 2 diabetes who were told to exercise and what to do didn’t fare as well when it came to their A1c levels as those who were told to (and did) join a “structured” exercise program.

Makes sense when you think about it.

If you told a kid “brush your teeth” and never showed them how or brushed your teeth at the same time as they were brushing their teeth, it would make sense that eventually the kid would stop brushing.  (If they ever started.)

Adults really aren’t all that different than kids!!

If the study participants were assigned to a structured exercise class that included both aerobic and resistance training, they on average lowered their A1cs by 0.67 percent more than the control group. 

Not bad!

Those who were simply instructed to exercise and given advice on what to do lowered their A1cs by 0.43 percent compared to the control group.

Still not shabby.

My favorite part of the article, though, comes in the editorial by another doctor who pointed out that in one of the studies studied the adults who went to a gym two times or more per week for two years, they incurred $1,252 less in health care costs than their less-active peers.


That doctor went on to advocate for insurance reimbursements for structured physical exercise programs.

I couldn’t agree more.  Exercise is a vital part of our health—diabetes or no diabetes—and given the overwhelming evidence in support of lower health care costs (from this and other studies) it no longer makes sense (if it ever did) for health insurance companies to ignore the importance of exercise. 

What say you, Insurers?  Are YOU ready to help us get healthier through exercise??

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