Ounce of Prevention Worth Pound of Cure

We should turn our current sick care system into a true health care system.
A new Center for Rural Affairs report entitled, Prevention and Public Health, examines how the Affordable Care Act seeks to place a greater emphasis on disease prevention and health by promoting strategies that will help create healthier people and healthier communities.

Chronic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes are responsible for seven of ten American deaths each year and 75 percent of the nation’s health spending. Rural residents experience these diseases and conditions or the circumstances that lead to them in generally greater numbers. Unhealthy lifestyles, lack of access to healthy food (e.g. food deserts), and less physical activity due in part to a lack of gyms, recreational areas and biking/hiking trails, help cause this.

However, many behaviors lead to these chronic conditions and to poor health - behaviors such as tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, rural residents have greater rates of engaging in these behaviors.

According to the Center’s report, a ten percent increase in public health spending will help control health care costs and reduce mortality rates for infant deaths, heart disease, diabetes and cancer by as much as seven percent. Given the rural disparities in the current health care system, rural America’s farmers, ranchers, mainstreet businesses and small town residents have much to gain from emphasizing health and prevention.

Other findings of the report can be found here: http://files.cfra.org/pdf/prevention-and-public-health.pdf .

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