12 September 2012

Healthy Living Program for U.S. Poor


County Health Departments throughout the U.S. are beginning to focus on the benefits of healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle changes as a means to reduce preventable illness among the nation's poor.  Studies have shown that preventable diseases  such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking related respiratory ailments are the largest causes of death.  Often as health volunteers we focus on poverty stricken communities outside our nations borders and forget that similar circumstances also affect the poor within the U.S.  
Please go to this link to learn about a community health education program within the U.S. designed to reduce the incidence of preventable disease in poor communities. 
Local governments across the country are creating dozens of such experiments with money from the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. It is part of a broad national effort set in motion by the law to nudge a health care system geared toward responding to illness to one that tries to stop people from getting sick in the first place. To that end, the law created the $10 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund, the largest-ever federal investment in community prevention.
Supporters say the effort is long overdue in an age where preventable disease is the single largest cause of death. Indeed, unhealthy behaviors, like smoking and poor diet, account for 40 percent of premature deaths in the United States, while poor health care and limited access to the health care system accounted for a tenth of such deaths, according to an analysis of federal data and mortality studies by J. Michael McGinnis, a senior scholar at theInstitute of Medicine.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:  Should UMVIM Health Volunteers explore ways to focus on supporting this health education and prevention program?  How could this be done?

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