July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Doctor says medical costs are drag on economy

MEDINA — “We have only one problem in our economy,” Dr. Michael Roizen told a crowd of about 900 Wednesday at the Medina Performing Arts Center. “And that’s medical expenses.

“And whose fault is it?” he asked.

Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, speaks Wednesday at the Medina Performing Arts Center. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Roizen answered his own question: “It’s each of ours.”

That’s because the four factors that cause 75 percent of Americans’ chronic disease are tobacco, food choices and portion size, physical inactivity and unmanaged stress.

The best-selling author of the “RealAge” series of books, Roizen is a frequent speaker and talk-show guest, as well as the Cleveland Clinic’s chief wellness officer.

Roizen said U.S. health care is four times as expensive as care in Mexico, India, China and Japan.

Last year, the U.S. spent 18.6 percent of its gross domestic product on medical expenses.

“We are twice as expensive as Europe,” he said.

Roizen talked about how lifestyle changes can slow the progress of prostate or breast cancer, reverse damage caused by heart disease and decrease some of the negative effects of aging.

He encouraged everyone to stop smoking; avoid added sugars, syrups, simple carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats; to walk 10,000 steps a day; and meditate for 15 minutes in the morning and evening.

“That’s why the Cleveland Clinic took away sugared drinks,” he said. “There’s no reason to get you ill. We don’t want to facilitate our visitors or employees getting ill.”

Roizen said anyone is welcome to bring a Coke or Pepsi to the Cleveland Clinic, but the hospitals don’t offer it.

His speech was sponsored by Medina Hospital.

Roizen last spoke in Medina in 2010.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.