Strong Medicine for a Healthier America

Introduction

Why are some Americans so much healthier than others? Why aren't Americans the healthiest people in the world?

While America's leaders are preoccupied with health care, health crises arise from social and environmental factors. When a community has no grocery store, its residents are deprived of fresh, healthy food; where parks and sidewalks are absent there is less opportunity for physical activity.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation created the Commission to Build A Healthier America to extend the Foundation’s mission beyond the traditional boundaries of the health care sector. The Commission has published its research in a supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s President and CEO, introduces the supplement by describing the Commission's work and outlining its research.

The supplement’s topics include: childhood health risks; health promotion in schools and workplaces; the built environment and health; research methodologies, study design and analysis; and, the potential economic savings from improving the health of the most disadvantaged Americans.

Key Findings:

  • The Commission is comprised of leaders from an array of sectors: business, government, media, education and academia.
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is exploring new partnerships; in 2010, the Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts ranked the overall health of every county in all 50 states.
  • The Commission has recommended that scarce public resources be awarded to educational, workplace and community programs.

Introducing this supplement of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, provides background about the Commission to Build a Healthier America. The Commission's findings provide a blueprint for a healthier America.

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