How Inflation Impacts Health Behavior and Outcomes
Learn about inflation’s impact on people’s health behavior and outcomes, and how to stabilize your population’s health habits in challenging times.
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Inflation & Health Behavior
Where in-depth data meets deep expertise
A version of this article was previously published in Harvard Business Review. Read it here.
As inflation hit a 40-year high over the summer of 2022, many Americans continue to face tough decisions on how to tighten budgets, even cutting medical care at the expense of their health.
For the 37 million American adults living with diabetes and 116 million managing hypertension, deciding to skip appointments or prescriptions can be life-threatening. However, physician visits and pharmacy pick-ups merely scratch the surface of inflation’s impact on health behavior. Unhealthy short-term decisions can have surprisingly negative long-term effects.
"Maybe you've got your health coverage, but vulnerable people, like people with chronic disease, need constant maintenance of their disease, especially the cardiometabolic conditions."
- Zhou Yang, Ph.D., Omada Health’s Principal Health Economist
Health Behaviors are Driven by Finances
Is healthcare seen as a luxury that can be cut from a person’s life? What about health behaviors, such as nutrition and fitness, which play a major role in health outcomes? While healthcare costs can be difficult to pin down in economic terms, it is clear that people’s financial situations and emotional states have a direct impact on their health.
“People make choices and set priorities about their health because of their finances,” says Omada Health Chief Medical Officer Carolyn Jasik, MD. “With food and exercise, it's very well established that both are tied to income.”
“Right now, inflation certainly appears to be a barrier for our members. It’s affecting their health because they can’t afford their groceries, medication costs or healthcare costs,” says Wisconsin-based Omada Health Coach, Kelsi Bloor. “Eating healthy just isn’t something many of them would think to focus on at the moment.”
Learn about inflation’s impact on health behavior and outcomes, and how Omada helps members manage chronic conditions during times of uncertainty.