Monday, January 13, 2014

Importance of Prevention

Prevention should be woven into all aspects of our lives, including where and how we live, learn, work and play. Everyone—government, businesses, educators, health care institutions, communities and every single American—has a role in creating a healthier nation. 

In order to make this happen a National Prevention Strategy was developed. This Strategy is a comprehensive plan that will help increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. Created by the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council in consultation with the public and an Advisory Group of outside experts, the Strategy recognizes that good health comes not just from receiving quality medical care but from stopping disease before it starts. Good health also comes from clean air and water, safe outdoor spaces for physical activity, safe worksites, healthy foods, violence-free environments and healthy homes.

Increasing the focus on prevention in our communities will help improve America's health, quality of life and prosperity. For example, seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases (such as cancer and heart disease), and almost one out of every two adults has at least one chronic illness, many of which are preventable. Racial and ethnic minority communities experience higher rates of obesity, cancer, diabetes and AIDS. Children are also becoming increasingly vulnerable. Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is overweight or obese which predisposes them to chronic disease and the numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities.

Focusing on preventing disease and illness before they occur will create healthier homes, workplaces, schools and communities so that people can live long and productive lives and reduce their healthcare costs. Better health positively impacts our communities and our economy:
  • With better health, children are in school more days and are better able to learn. Numerous studies have found that regular physical activity supports better learning. Student fitness levels have been correlated with academic achievement, including improved math, reading and writing scores.
  • With better health, adults are more productive and at work more days. Preventing disease increases productivity—asthma, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity each reduce annual productivity by between $200 and $440 per person.
  • With better health, seniors keep their independence. Support for older adults who choose to remain in their homes and communities and retain their independence ("aging in place") helps promote and maintain positive mental and emotional health.
Investments in prevention across the life span complement and support treatment and care. Prevention policies and programs can be cost-effective, reduce health care costs, and improve productivity.

Prevention programs are happening in Van Buren County to help prevent disease and illness before they occur. The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition focuses on reducing youth drug, alcohol and tobacco use leading to healthier youth in our community. Healthy Villages focuses on leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Thanks to a CDC Community Transformation Grant Healthy Villages and Van Buren County Hospital are focusing on ways to reduce chronic disease in the county. For more information on The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition you may contact the coalition office at 319-293-6412 or and Healthy Villages information can be obtained by calling the Van Buren County Hospital at 319-293-3171 ext. 1271.

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