Jul 25 2012

Chronic Disease Prevention Can Save Lives and Money

A recent briefing hosted by the Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, focused on initiatives that can prevent chronic disease and save money. A recent policy brief by the Foundation found that chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes are responsible for seven in 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for nearly 75 percent of the nation’s health spending. However, according to the brief, an investment of $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent smoking and other tobacco use, could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years—a return on investment of $5.60 for every $1 spent. Additional research shared by the Alliance finds that per person health spending for obese adults is 56 percent higher than for normal-weight adults, and that community-based interventions can save 4.5 million lives and $600 billion over 25 years.

Speakers at the briefing included Ursula Bauer, MD, director of the CDC National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Thomas Farley, MD, MPH, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Linda Bilheimer, Assistant Director for Health, Retirement, and Long‐Term Analysis at the Congressional Budget Office.

>>Recommended viewing: Watch the briefing.

Tags: Heart and Vascular Health, Obesity, Public and Community Health, Recommended Reading, Tobacco