Keeping people healthy is a good investment – a healthy population is essential for a thriving society and economy. People with health problems are more susceptible to unemployment, lower earnings, sickness absence and lower household income. And, for us as individuals, good health is crucial to enable us to handle day-to-day stress and live a longer, more active life.
Even before the pandemic, total annual healthcare expenditure in the UK alone was £225.2 billion – equating to £3,371 per person and accounting for 10.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. Yet only around 5% of that expenditure was on preventive healthcare, even though we all know that prevention is better than cure – it’s far more effective and far less expensive.
The potential economic benefits of ensuring the best possible health of the population are huge. Healthier children have better educational outcomes, which positively affect productivity in adulthood, for example. And a healthy person can be productive for longer, whereas poor health can lead to forced early retirement and reliance on health-related benefits.
Earlier this year, researchers found that a sustained move from an average diet to an optimal one at the age of 20 would increase life expectancy by 10.7 years for the average woman and by 13 years for the average man. Making the same changes at the age of 60 could still increase life expectancy by 8.4 years for men and women combined – and at 80 it could still add 3.4 years, the study found.
But no amount of healthy living can keep every single disease at bay forever. That’s why accurate early detection of any warning signs is vital. And it’s why, here at Sanome, we’re working on identifying the combinations of biomarkers that signify the start of different illnesses.
Our ambition is to enable people to lead healthier lives – using at-home biomarker monitoring technology to detect even the very earliest signs of disease. As the Benjamin Franklin saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.