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Bahram Akradi, founder, chairman, and CEO of Life Time — Healthy Way of Life

Over the past two decades, a troubling trend has taken hold in healthcare. At the same time that our sedentary lifestyles have been causing a rise in obesity rates and chronic conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes), we, the consumers, have been assuming an increasingly passive role in managing our own health and well-being.

Instead of being active participants, many of us have relegated the decisions about our health to a coalition of outside interests.

It tends to go something like this: When we don’t feel well, we head straight to the doctor. After a brief physical exam and review of our symptoms, the doctor makes a reactive diagnosis, often prescribing medication, additional tests, or more intensive treatment. While he or she might also suggest eating better and working out more, there’s usually little in the way of specific guidance about how and why.

Without the support and expertise of the physician and an integrated team that understands our unique circumstances, it can be tough to incorporate these lifestyle adjustments on our own. We’re left with a prescribed plan that fails to address the root of our health problems, and we end up back where we started.

This continuous cycle of “disease care” comes at a high cost. Behind the scenes, there are a multitude of players making decisions about the overall care we’re provided: doctors, employers, insurance companies, providers (hospitals or clinics), the government, lawyers, and discount networks.

No one is clearly responsible for the exact care we receive and how much it should cost. And while every party is well intentioned, they also have different objectives. These competing priorities are causing healthcare costs to continuously rise, while the level of customer care and delivery are getting worse.

It’s for this reason that now, more than ever, it’s so important for each of us to commit to taking charge of our own “whole health.”

Taking a whole-health perspective means being responsible for your well-being — whether you are sick or not. It’s about integrated and optimal care that includes nutrition, exercise, supplementation, sleep, and stress management all together.

It’s a collaborative and in-depth plan of action developed by a team of integrated experts based on your unique health factors. It’s you as the decision-maker, equipped with the full picture of your current condition, forward goals and objectives, and a comprehensive, yet coordinated plan.

This is essential, because when we understand how and why these factors contribute to optimal whole health, we are empowered to take control of our own destiny. We become the sources of knowledge and proactively seek out the support we need to make informed decisions about our health. We’re no longer delegating to outsiders, but calling in a trusted team that together is dedicated to improving our baseline of health.

This whole-health concept is the inspiration behind the LT Proactive Care Clinics that we’re preparing to roll out in many of our clubs across the country. Our teams of doctors, clinicians, registered dietitians, and personal trainers will work together to create personalized plans of care that are proactive and preventive. They’ll evaluate the needs of each individual — aiming not just to improve over-all health, but also fitness and performance, if that’s what you want.

These integrated clinics -— which are open to the public — are Life Time’s way of stepping in to help positively redirect the health of members and communities in a time when traditional healthcare is off the rails. Much like a good leader knows when to hold back and when to get involved, we see it as our responsibility to create a more positive and more effective healthcare model.

You have the same opportunity when it comes to your own whole-health picture. I hope you’ll join me in taking charge of your and your family’s health. Together, we can change healthcare for the better.

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