The best way to curb the cost of treating disease is to keep people from getting sick in the first place. Yet, increased rates of obesity have contributed to an increased burden of costly diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cancer throughout the entire health system. At the same time, the enormous progress since the 1960s in reducing tobacco use has plateaued, leaving the United States with 42.1 million adult smokers and a 15.7% smoking rate among high school students – a trend that is increasingly driven by highly marketed alternatives to cigarettes such as small cigars. Obesity- and tobacco-related illnesses impose $190 billion and $170 billion respectively on our already strapped health care system.
The good news is that these costs and those attributable to a range of other health challenges are largely preventable. NCHC supports the following steps to promote evidence-based prevention:
- Ensure stable overall funding for prevention activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Oppose repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund without a corresponding increase in discretionary funding allocations that can support the same level of investments.
- Support comprehensive tobacco control policies.
- Expand access to Diabetes Prevention Program.