Monday, July 16, 2007

BEA Spotlight: Discover Wellness

Discover Wellness: How Staying Healthy Can Make You Rich, by Dr. Bob Hoffman and Dr. Jason A. Deitch

Discover Wellness had a strong presence at BookExpo America this year. Readers lined up to receive their signed copies and to chat with Dr. Hoffman.

Doctors Hoffman and Deitch tackle a sensitive topic in Discover Wellness—health care. They argue that people’s individual wellness choices not only affect their own budgets, but all of America’s. The high numbers of unwell people in America are forcing the rest of us, our employers, and our government to pay exorbitant prices for health care benefits.

The first half of the book breaks down seven of the most common illness issues Americans face, analyzing their causes, impacts, and financial effects in great detail—to the point of reiterating common knowledge. The second half focuses on steps Americans can take to improve their wellness, including eating right, exercising, and reducing stress. The doctors’ mantra: “we need more people who are less sick.” They theorize that this will bring health care costs down while bringing national wellness statistics up.

While this concept is intriguing, it’s a bit optimistic. Illness doesn’t happen solely as a result of dietary or exercise choices. And while the authors acknowledge this, their math does not. The book is filled with statistics skewed to support their argument, averaged health care costs across the country to figure the money each person would save if health care costs disappeared—not exactly an accurate representation on who is spending, or saving, what on health care costs. Their advice for achieving wellness is to surround ourselves with a “Board of Directors” of eleven health care professionals. But they neglect to point out the costs involved in hiring nearly a dozen health care professionals. The redeeming trait of Discover Wellness is an extensive section on exercises busy people can do at their desks and a list of recommended products to help to improve wellness. However, while the doctors take extra time to explain common knowledge about the effects of stress, they skimp on the information about some of these products—such as the “special patented cotton bedsheet” that channels the earth’s electrons to your body’s benefit. While Discover Wellness might complement corporate health care seminars, it’s not the fountain of knowledge and wealth it claims to be. Individuals concerned about their health and finances should probably just remember their home ec teachers’ advice: walk when you could drive, eat an apple when you could eat an apple fritter, and save when you could spend.

Review by Ali McCart, Indigo Editing, LLC

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