My Unhealthy Lifestyle is Your Problem!

Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:30am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

New Survey Uncovers Disconnect Between Responsibility for Personal
                   Health And Who Should Pay For It
CHICAGO--(Business Wire)--
According to a new survey from The Vitality Group, a member of
Discovery Holdings Limited, the vast majority of Americans (82
percent) believe that they alone are responsible for their health.
They also agree that lifestyle choices, such as smoking and exercise,
have a direct impact on their healthcare costs. Yet when asked who
should pay these healthcare costs, nearly half of Americans (44
percent) believe they should not bear any part of the responsibility
of paying for their healthcare.

   On the contrary, the majority believe their or their spouse's
employer should have some responsibility and nearly half think the
government should have some responsibility (59 and 46 percent,
respectively.) Only 56 percent think they should shoulder any part of
the responsibility themselves.

   "These results highlight the root cause of the healthcare crisis
our nation is currently grappling with," said Art Carlos, Chief
Executive Officer of The Vitality Group. "We Americans, or rather our
lifestyles, lie at the heart of rising medical costs and the problem
will not be solved until we are required to take personal
accountability for the way we choose to live."

   Consider the facts:

   --  Chronic diseases account for more than three quarters of the
        nation's $2.3 trillion medical care costs and a significant
        share traces to lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor eating
        habits and the lack of physical activity.(1)

   --  70% of all healthcare costs generated in the United States are
        attributable to preventable risks and unhealthy choices.(2)

   --  An estimated 66 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or
        obese. Obesity costs U.S. companies an estimated $13 billion
        per year.(3)

   "The only way to stem these escalating healthcare costs is to help
people take action to get healthier or insist they pay for the
privilege of lifestyle choices that adversely affect the pocketbooks
of others," said Carlos.

   The Solution is Wellness (If I Don't Have to Pay For It)

   Wellness programs are rapidly gaining popularity as employers
struggle with dramatic healthcare costs increases. (The average
Fortune 500 company spends more on health benefits than it earns in

   In a study conducted by Hewitt Associates, it was found that
two-thirds of employers were moving toward more aggressive wellness
and disease management programs for employees. Almost half were
offering or planned to offer employees incentives to participate in
health initiatives, compared with just 38 percent a year earlier.

   The American public is on board too, as long as it doesn't affect
their wallet -- when The Vitality Group asked survey respondents about
participating in an employer-sponsored wellness program, more than 95
percent said they would participate if they got something out of it -
lower healthcare costs, incentives, better health, employer subsidies.
Respondents considered the number one benefit of participation in a
wellness program to be good health and fitness, followed by cost
savings on healthcare.

   But, Americans still don't want to pay to get healthy - only four
in ten would participate in a wellness program if they had to pay for
the program themselves. And, almost two thirds of Americans felt that
some people with conditions which increase the use of healthcare
should pay more for healthcare. Only 37 percent felt that conditions
or illnesses shouldn't affect how much a person pays for healthcare.

   "Despite the fact that people recognize their behavior can impact
their healthcare costs, that knowledge obviously isn't enough to
motivate them to action, considering 70 percent of all healthcare
costs are attributable to preventable risks and unhealthy choices,"
said Stuart Slutzky, Chief Marketing Officer of The Vitality Group.

   "Finding the right wellness program that will motivate them is
critically important - they're not all created equally. The best
programs provide the tools and motivation to make healthy choices
including positive incentives for employees who choose to do the right
thing. They are also nondiscriminatory in that their rewards are based
on taking positive steps to improve health, no matter where the
starting point lies."

   Programs such as this - like the Vitality health enhancement
program from The Vitality Group - have been proven to deliver a
positive return on investment in the form of lowered healthcare costs
and increases in productivity. The Vitality Group believes so strongly
in its model that it will guarantee that claim savings will exceed
reward costs - if they don't, The Vitality Group will pay for the
excess reward cost.

   (1)Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

   (2)Wellness Councils of America and The Center for Health Care

   (3)Centers for Disease Control

   (4)US Bureau of Economic Analysis; US Bureau of Labor Statistics,
CMS; McKinsey Analysis

   Survey Methodology

   A series of questions was asked on the CARAVAN(R) omnibus surveys
from Opinion Research Corporation.

   Results are based on telephone interviews conducted April 10-13,
2008 among a sample of 1,013 adults (501 men and 512 women).
Interviews were weighted by four variables: age, sex, geographic
region, and race, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of
the total adult population. The margin of error at a 95% confidence
level is plus or minus three percentage points for the entire sample.
Smaller sub-groups will have larger error margins.

   About Opinion Research Corp.

   Founded in 1938, Opinion Research Corporation (ORC), an infoUSA
company, helps its clients grow their business by leveraging the
insights of market research. ORC's Customer Strategies practice helps
clients better understand both their existing and prospective
customers to establish market differentiation and drive business
growth. The firm has been conducting national, speech reaction, state
and flash/overnight polls for CNN since April 2006. To learn more,

   About The Vitality Group

   The Vitality Group is a member of Discovery Holdings Limited, a
publicly traded company with over $3 billion in annual revenues. The
Vitality Group has forged partnerships with some of the most respected
and recognized names in the health and wellness field to help extend
the reach of Vitality. Members of Vitality enjoy robust perks through
partnerships with Polar, Life Time Fitness, Curves and other regional
and local fitness facilities.

   Vitality is offered to over 1.5 million members across the United
States, United Kingdom and South Africa. Early adopters in the United
States include Alcon, AOL, Aspirus, General Growth Properties, and
Lenovo. Clients in the UK and South Africa include Bloomberg,
Citibank, Coca-Cola, Dell, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Kraft, McDonalds,
Microsoft, MTV, Nike, Oracle, and Samsung. For more information, visit

For The Vitality Group
Eileen Rochford
Office: 773-463-2480
Cell: 312-953-3305

Copyright Business Wire 2008