Can Living in Lakewood Help You Lose Weight & Save Money?

David Pauer

Every year more than 100 million people in the United States go on a diet. We buy diet books, take diet pills, eat only one type of food (vinegar diet, cabbage soup diet, ice cream diet, ?, etc.). And we join fitness centers trying to lose weight – 50 million people sign up for gyms each year.

But these strategies may not be working – more than 65% of adults in the US are obese or overweight, and the number goes up each year. This is much more than just a dating issue – obesity contributes directly to other severe chronic health conditions – including diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, liver disease, and many others. This greatly reduces the quality (and length) of our lives – and directly contributes to the increases we all pay in healthcare costs each year. These costs are not only in our health insurance premium, but in our out of pocket of co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preventable chronic illness is responsible for 75% of all healthcare spending in the United States. And all spending for healthcare is approaching 20% of GDP in the United States. That is twice as large as other western countries, and not sustainable for any economy. The main reason we spend so much more is because we have more chronic and preventable disease.

And the future may be even worse. Our children in the United States are nearly 40% overweight or obese. We diagnose these young kids with the same conditions that we have increased the diagnosis in a adults – type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, among others. And healthcare providers know from experience that a child who is just overweight is nearly 90% likely to be obese by the time they are adults.

So what can we do? Unfortunately, most of us live, work and go to school in environments that make it difficult to be healthy – and easy to be unhealthy. It is hard to be physically active when we sit all day – at desks, in cars, on the couch, etc. And it is really hard to eat healthy when poor food choices like junk food and fast food are everywhere and seem to be quicker and cheaper.

But there is hope – creating and maintaining healthy environments at our worksites, schools and communities has been proven to reduce weight and other severe chronic conditions. And we don’t have to run marathons, become body builders or starve ourselves either. Moderate physical activity like walking or biking short distances, combined with moderate dietary changes can make a huge difference over time to improve health – and not just to lose weight and prevent disease but improving the quality of life – kids do better in school, adults are more productive at work, and local businesses and their employees reduce their healthcare costs.

Across the country, local communities, schools and worksites have created healthier places to live, learn, and work by making it easier to be healthy and more difficult to be unhealthy. To learn more about these best practices and how Lakewood can improve the health of the community and the families that live or work there, please attend the event, "Can Living in Lakewood Help You Lose Weight & Save Money?" on April 10th from 7-8 p.m. For more information about the event see For more information on the national initiatives to improve health of local communities please see

David Pauer is Director, Wellness, Employee Health Plan at Cleveland Clinic.

David Pauer

David Pauer, MNO

David Pauer is Director of Wellness for the Employee Health Plan (EHP) of Cleveland Clinic.  EHP covers healthcare and wellness expenses for 75,000 Cleveland Clinic employees and their family members.

David has been with the Cleveland Clinic for 7 years, first as a manager with the Employee Wellness department and now with the Employee Health Plan.

David has dedicated his career to nonprofit health organizations. He previously was a director of development for HealthSpace Cleveland, the executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, and the assistant executive vice president of the American Diabetes Association, Ohio Affiliate.

David earned a Master of Nonprofit Organizations degree, specializing in healthcare organizations, fromCaseWestern ReserveUniversity, and a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from The Ohio State University. David spent a year studying Spanish language, culture, and public health inMadrid,Spainin a program throughBowling GreenStateUniversity.

David serves as a volunteer on the board of advisors for Clevelanders in

Motion, Live Well Lakewood and the Lakewood HospitalCommunity

Advisory Board.

Read More on Wellness Watch
Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 9:25 PM, 04.02.2013