The national Public Health Prevention Plan was released last week, with a clear emphasis on the critical contributors to health.  The 4 broad strategic directions for the plan are:

  1. Building healthy and safe community environments,
  2. Expanding quality preventive services in both clinical and community settings,
  3. Empowering people to make healthy choices, and
  4. Eliminating health disparities.

This groundbreaking plan emphasizes a Public Health approach, promoting health by focusing on stopping disease before it starts.    The plan reflects what many studies have shown:  that 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.  Everyone—businesses, educators, health care institutions, government, communities and every single American—has a role in creating a healthier nation.

For every dollar spent on prevention, there is a five-to-one return on investment in just 5 years.  Seven of ten deaths among Americans each year are caused by chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. These same chronic diseases account for more than 75% of our nation’s health care spending.  Does public health prevention sound like a wise investment to you?