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Health Care executive examines healthy behaviors in men over 50

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 6, 2019

Crack the Code

Crack the Code

Photo: Somos

Louis Bezich, senior vice president of Strategic Alliances at Cooper University Health Care, is a passionate men’s health advocate. So much so that he dedicated four years to writing Crack the Code 10 Proven Secrets That Motivate Healthy Behavior and Inspire Fulfillment in Men Over 50 (Somos, $19.99), his first book. The 284-page softcover book, 100 percent self-financed, was published this year.

He hopes to motivate men over 50 to establish their own healthy lifestyles. He is already working on a follow up title on a topic he declined to disclose.

“The project involved concept development, initial focus groups, the national survey, interviews, probably a year or so of writing and editing, then post-writing development of the title, cover and other publication tasks,” he said by email when asked how long it took him to publish the book.

When asked why he wrote the book in 2019 he said, the combination of three factors inspired him to write the book: his personal experience, his belief that existing approaches to foster healthy behavior have failed, and his belief that the value-proposition is too strong to ignore.

“I discovered the power of motivation during my time as a single dad,” he said. “Exercise was my means of coping with the stress of raising two sons, pursuing a career and ensuring that I was fit so I would always be there for the boys. I witnessed first-hand the connection between happiness and healthiness. For me, what started as a coping mechanism as a twenty-something dad became a passion as a fifty-something man when the boys were off on their own.

When I became a health care executive, I was alarmed to learn that that only 3 percent of Americans lead a healthy lifestyle and 40 percent are considered obese. Even more concerning is that men over 50, my demographic, are the poster child for poor health practices; we refuse to see a doctor and have what experts call a health attention gap. All this in the context where our own behavior is by-far, the most significant influence on our health and we spend more on health that any other industrialized nation in the world. This represents a failure of our current systems and cry for a new unconventional approach.

Healthy behavior powered by social motivators is a win-win, personally, culturally and economically. As individuals we can improve our health and increase our happiness. As a society we have the ability to make a change with huge significance. And, from a health-care perspective, we can impact the need and ultimately the cost of care. (i.e., examples—seat belt use, smoking cessation, recycling). The case for healthy behavior is just too strong to ignore.”

Louis Bezich, author, Crack the Code

Louis Bezich, author, Crack the Code

When asked who is the primary target audience for the book he explained he expects it will appeal most to men over 50 and the people that love them; their wives, partners, children and grandchildren. Additional audiences could include health care providers, insurers, policy makers and “anyone who has struggled with their health.”

The “10 Proven Secrets” mentioned in the book’s subtitle refer to his research on healthy behaving men 50 and over that included a survey of 1,000 men nationwide and 30 interviews. He believes his findings are consistent with the literature on behavioral health.

When asked to share advice with readers who struggle adopting healthy behaviors such as adjusting to changes, making new friendships and relationships he replied, “Before your purchase that gym membership, order the exercise equipment or start that new diet, build your personal motivational platform based around your social relationships following these three basic steps: Conduct Your Social Inventory. Think about what’s most important in your life. Really consider, I mean really think about what’s ahead in the years to come, and what you’d like to be doing this week, this month or this year with your wife, partner, children, grandchildren, your job, your volunteer work whatever. Think about the rest of your life; what’s ahead for you, and perhaps more importantly, what the future holds for the ones your love. Think about the joy of active participation, versus restricted or perhaps even no participation in their lives. When you’ve completed your inventory, think about how your aspirations match your current lifestyle and recognize the gaps.

Build Your Social Platform. Second, based on your inventory, and those gaps you’ve identified, build your personal social platform. The healthy men have clear social goals and robust calendars and activities that give them purpose and meaning, and most importantly, the motivation to stay healthy. Do the same and engage your loved ones in the process. It can actually be fun.

Third, work your strategy. Find your rhythm. The healthy men use routines, rituals and habits as guardrails of their behavior and are in a position to bounce back quickly if they are drawn off course. Rhythm feels good and provides a level discipline.”

With more than 40 years of executive experience, Bezich also serves as an adjunct professor in the Graduate Department of Public Policy Administration at Rutgers University. Bezich has published numerous articles in the field of public administration and health and is a contributing author to Corporate Lawbreaking and Interactive Compliance.

Crack the Code

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