Healthy Habits Play Key Role in Preventive Care

Primary Care Physicians Remind Patients to Be Proactive

DAYTON, Ohio (January 23, 2012) – The start of the new year marks a time for making resolutions. One of the more common resolutions is striving for a healthier lifestyle, which often includes taking on a new diet or workout regimen. While the initial goal of diet and exercise might be to take off some of the excess pounds added during the holiday season, adopting a healthy diet and exercise regimen can benefit a person’s overall health throughout the year. Premier HealthNet is encouraging individuals to strive to improve their health literacy in 2012, and one key step to achieving this is by taking a proactive approach to health care, prevention and weight management.

“Obesity is the cause of many health concerns today, so people need to be honest with themselves about their height and weight and how those can be risk factors for more serious health conditions,” said Dr. Christopher Lauricella of Family Medicine of Vandalia. “A lot of people hate getting on the scale when they come in—they just don’t want to face it—but it’s the first step to addressing problems such as obesity.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, preventive care practices, such as the control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity prevention, have the potential to improve wellness and lower health care costs. The Department of Health and Human Services also suggests that individuals with low health literacy are more likely to skip preventive care measures, such as flu shots.

Health literacy is defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as the degree to which individuals are able to obtain and understand the information and services needed to make appropriate decisions regarding their health care. From the ability to understand a physician’s directions, consent forms and dosage instructions and knowing what questions to ask, to being able to communicate symptoms and health concerns accurately and effectively, health literacy impacts a person’s health care in a variety of ways. Health literacy plays a role in both the prevention of potential health issues and the adoption of healthy habits.

“Most women with strong medical histories are already getting interaction with their physicians because they’re used to making their appointments at least once a year—it’s those individuals who don’t get as much face time with their doctors that need to remember to provide as much detail as possible when they do make it in for a visit,” said Dr. Lauricella. “If people make it a habit to go in for one or two well visits per year, it could prevent something more serious, like an emergency room visit or heart catherization, and improve overall health literacy in the process.”

During routine check-ups, physicians set aside additional time to allow for an open-ended conversation, which is an important part of improving a patient’s health literacy, Lauricella added.

With so much publicly available health information from reliable online sources, libraries and doctor’s offices, patients, now more than ever, can be proactive and learn first-hand about health care topics and issues. For example, the Premier HealthNet website,, provides resources that help patients make sense of medical information, know the right questions to ask and the important information to share with their physicians.

“Individuals need to find a primary care physician that they feel comfortable with,” said Dr. Lauricella. “I do what I can, including visiting patients in the hospital, in order to provide true continuity of care and promote health literacy—I’m on the same journey with my patients.”

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