• Who is Responsible for Prevention?

    There is much talk about prevention these days, leading us to the question, “Who is responsible for prevention?” This article looks at prevention from many different perspectives to answer that very question.

    “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Who is Responsible for PreventionThe Discerning Facts

    According to the CDC

    • “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.”
    • “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.”

    If we continue the way we have been, the future doesn’t look so bright for Americans. That’s why one of the new buzz words is “prevention” which means increasing awareness, making changes that support the body in avoiding disease, and creating an environment that promotes good health habits.

    But Who is Responsible for Prevention?

    The only way we will really achieve wellness and prevention is for everyone and every entity to work towards it. As the CDC points out, “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.”

    Here’s a quick look at what each party can do to play a role in creating a healthier America through prevention:

    Individuals

    • Managing weight
    • Getting consistent physical activity
    • Eating a healthy diet
    • Getting proper sleep
    • Properly managing stress
    • Avoiding smoking
    • Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol
    • Having healthy relationships
    • Driving safely
    • Leading a healthy lifestyle
    • Providing a healthy home for your family
    • Creating a violence-free environment
    • Knowing your genetic susceptibility to certain diseases

    Click here to learn more about what you can do as an individual to prevent disease.

    Clinicians & Healthcare Institutions

    • Offering genomic testing for patients
    • Educating patients on preventive options
    • Staying educated on preventive solutions that can assist patients
    • Providing childhood immunizations
    • Offering mammograms, colonoscopies, pap smears and prostate screens. (NOTE: This is not so much preventative as it is screening for early stages of disease, but interventions and disease management can serve as a way to prevent further acceleration of diseases)

    Businesses & Organizations

    • Limiting employee exposure to toxins
    • Offering employee wellness programs
    • Providing safe, healthy worksites
    • Creating a violence-free environment

    Government & Communities

    • Raising taxes on cigarettes
    • Mandating seatbelt use
    • Restricting alcohol sales to minors
    • Building bicycle paths
    • Eliminating sales of sugary beverages in schools
    • Offering tobacco cessation programs
    • Improving access to healthy foods
    • Offering wellness training and education
    • Ensuring we have clean air and water
    • Creating safe outdoor spaces for physical activity
    • Maintaining a violence-free environment

    What is the Government Doing?

    The Prevention and Public Health Fund

    The Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund is the nation’s largest single investment ($14.5 billion) to date in prevention, with the goal being to improve the health of Americans and prevent chronic disease over a 10 year period by mandating certain preventive measures and supporting community programs that reduce obesity and tobacco use and increase physical activity and nutrition compliance.

    By making changes that reflect healthier choices in housing, education, transportation, environment, access to healthy food, and the workplace, this fund will help to bring America’s focus to be more on wellness and prevention instead of on sickness and disease as it currently is.

    Who Benefits From Prevention Strategies?

    The bottom line is everyone benefits from making steps toward preventing disease:

    Adults & Employers benefit because preventing disease allows people to be more productive at work and miss less days of work. It allows people to enjoy a better quality of life so that they can be happier and better able to accomplish their daily activities.

    Children benefit because they miss less school and they are better able to learn when they are healthier and engaging in healthier lifestyle choices. No child should have to endure diseases like obesity and diabetes, and too many of them are today. With prevention, children can thrive and enjoy being children.

    Seniors benefit by prolonging their independence and maintaining a much more enjoyable quality of life. The “young seniors” you see out and about are usually the ones who have taken good care of themselves and may have prevented disease without even realizing it just because they lead active and healthy lifestyles.

     

    Sources:

    https://www.bcbsms.com/2014-prevention-key.html

    http://healthyamericans.org/report/106/

    http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/28/1/37.full

    http://healthyamericans.org/health-issues/prevention-page/

    http://www.cdc.gov/Features/PreventionStrategy/

    http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts-and-features/fact-sheets/building-healthier-communities-by-investing-in-prevention/index.html

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