Preventive health care US-style!

It’s increasingly common for colleges and universities, like other businesses, to offer the employees they insure incentives for staying healthy. And that makes sense; experts agree it’s a lot cheaper to treat illnesses earlier rather than later, or to prevent them altogether. But instead of offering “carrots” to its employees for seeking preventive care, Pennsylvania State University starting this fall is opting for the “stick,” imposing a $100 monthly surcharge on those who don’t meet new health requirements.

via Penn State faculty object to details of a new preventive health care plan | Inside Higher Ed. via Stephen Downes

As noted by Stephen Downes in his link to this article, it would not be likely that a government could impose this level of invasiveness and discrimination, but private health insurance seems to be able to do so. Thank goodness that, at least currently, Canadia and Australia both have public health funding!

Taking a stand on sedentary

The idea is to get everybody off their chairs while they work,” says Vanessa Dunne, Infiniti’s sales and marketing co-ordinator. The concept of this alternative workspace gained, ahem, traction with Quinn when reports started filtering in from the United States that the treadmill desk had been sold to the White House, Google, and a number of high-ranking companies.

via Taking a stand on sedentary.

It seems that the desire to incorporate “unthinking exercise” into one’s routine is a bit misplaced – walking up stairs instead of taking the lift expends human energy instead of electricity in a task that is already on the agenda, whereas walking on a treadmill while working is irrelevant energy expenditure and doesn’t involve skill development of any sort … somehow it doesn’t make sense to me.

Players pay a lifelong price: study

The study, titled Life after the game – Injury profile of past elite Australian Football players, was carried out by five academics and also showed that 73 per cent of the players surveyed suffered a concussion at least once during their career.

The study reported a high incidence of multiple concussions.The abstract of the study referred to research into ex-players mental and physical health – including disease prevalence – education, employment, lifestyle behaviours, and their ongoing relationship with the game. It suggested that further investigation could improve the quality of life of retired footballers.

via Players pay a lifelong price: study.

While this seems to provide compelling data about the effects of football, what I suspect it doesn’t do is provide a contrast with other professions – for example, what are the long term effects on the health of athletes competing in gymnastics, diving, soccer (where heading the ball is part of the game). Even more importantly, what are the long term effects on the health of people working in the mining industry, or the building industry, or in the military (e.g., fighter pilots/SAS), or paramedics … ?

So yes, AFL football is dangerous – but seriously, David Parkin, is it more a “more difficult game” than ice-hockey, (Irish) hurling, downhill skiing, motocross? And do the players have a choice in how they play the game or what game they play? I think so.