Prevention empowers Americans to prevent chronic diseases by making healthy choices and lower health care costs
Prevention
The Triple Solution for a Healthier America is a three-part approach to tackle chronic diseases, promote a healthier life, and lower healthcare costs by focusing on Prevention, Intervention, and Innovation.

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The Triple Solution for a Healthier America: Using Prevention to reduce chronic disease, promote a healthier life, and lower healthcare costs of diabetes and other chronic diseases The Triple Solution for a Healthier America: Using Intervention to better manage chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, promote a healthier life, and lower healthcare costs. The Triple Solution for a Healthier America: Using Innovation to reduce chronic disease and lower healthcare costs. Learn what you can do to reduce chronic disease, lower healthcare costs, and live a healthier life through personal, professional, and political involvement with the Triple Solution for a Healthier America.

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The Power of Prevention

The most effective way of lowering healthcare costs starts with each of us managing our own health. Preventive steps like these can help Americans avoid chronic diseases:

  • Eating well.
  • Vaccinations.
  • Wellness visits.

Some chronic diseases and their complications can be prevented. In fact, a nonprofit health advocacy group, Trust for America’s Health, issued a report in July 2008 which studied the impact of community health programs for physical activity, healthy eating, and smoking cessation. The study found that within 2 years, these programs can reduce levels of diabetes and blood pressure by 5% and, within 10 to 20 years, some forms of cancer. It also found that states could save up to $9.90 per $1 invested in prevention programs, resulting in millions of dollars over just a few years.4

Tackling the Obesity Epidemic

Curbing the rate of obesity is a major step in the fight against chronic diseases.

The costs:

  • Obesity rates in the United States among adults and the young have grown dramatically.
  • One in three children born in 2000 is expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime.7
  • Some leaders say almost 30% of the growth in healthcare spending during 1987 to 2001 was due to obesity.1
  • The obesity epidemic puts Americans of all ages at serious risk for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
  • Studies show an increase in death rates associated with obesity. Individuals who are obese have a 10% to 50% increased risk of death from all causes, compared with those of healthy weight.
  • Most of the increased risk of death is due to cardiovascular causes. Obesity is linked with about 112,000 extra deaths per year in the US population relative to those of healthy weight.2

The solution:
Obesity rates can be walked back, literally. Programs combining more exercise and better nutrition can make a difference for adults and kids in obesity and related chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Decreasing Tobacco Use

Decreasing tobacco use can also make an impact in the fight against chronic diseases:

  • The smoking rate in the United States has not changed from 21%, despite public efforts to reduce it.
  • Smoking is one of the most preventable causes of chronic diseases.3
  • Learn how smoking cessation programs can make a difference for a healthier America.

Understanding the Value of Vaccines

Vaccines offer another critical path to prevention. Vaccines help prevent acute illnesses. And, they have become an exciting tool in preventing some chronic diseases.

The key to making vaccines effective is getting people to take advantage of them, particularly adults. Each year, between 40,000 and 50,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases; more than from breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, suicide, HIV or car wrecks. The flu is extremely unpredictable. Each year from 1976 to 2007, a range of 3,000 to 49,000 Americans died from influenza.4 The annual US economic burden of flu alone is more than $87 billion.5

To lower costs, incentives in the healthcare system must focus to keep people well rather than treat them after they are ill. Programs that encourage active lifestyles, healthy choices, smoking cessation, cancer screenings, vaccination, and other ways to prevent diseases will go a long way to lower costs.

References:

  1. American Heart Association, 2008.
  2. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, JAMA 2003;290:1884-1890.
  3. Thorpe K, Florence CS, Howard DH, Joski P. The Impact of Obesity on Rising Healthcare Costs. Health Aff. 2004;Suppl Web Exclusives:W4-480-486.
  4. Weight-control Information Network. Statistics Related to Overweight and Obesity. Weight-control Information Network Web site. Available at http://win.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/index.htm. Accessed May 18, 2007.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fact Sheet: Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/Factsheets/health_effects.htm. Accessed May 18, 2007.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Questions & Answers: Seasonal Influenza (Flu): The Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Available at www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/disease.htm. Accessed November 9, 2010.
  7. Molinari, et al; The annual impact of seasonal influenza in the US: measuring disease burden and costs. Volume 25, Issue 27 28 June 2007, pgs 5086-5096.