Advancing Health, Safety, and Well Being of Americans: An Analysis of Programs Affected by the President's 2007 Federal Budget

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Advancing Health, Safety, and Well Being of Americans: An Analysis of Programs Affected by the President's 2007 Federal Budget


There are more than 100 disability prevention programs associated with the public health infrastructure which have had actual dollar cuts, service cuts, or were de-funded in the President's 2007 budget. Withdrawal of these resources from the public health infrastructure further weakens a public health system that contributes to the U.S. position of 37th among industrialized nations as measured by quality of life years for Americans. Adequate funding of these programs has the potential to lengthen quality of life years, extend productive working life, and prevent disability of Americans.

Federal Programs Supporting Physical Activity and Recreation Programs for People with Disabilities

Federal funds for physical activity and recreation programs associated with people with disabilities go through a year-long process of legislative activity determining who gets what fiscal resources for a given year. The funding cycle for FY2007 begins with the President's budget. The President initiates his budget, which moves through Congress, and then back to the President at the end of the year for his signature. Federal advocacy for fiscal resources for physical activity and recreation that can positively impact persons with disabilities covers many months and several stages during the budget process.

Advocacy: Communicating Values of Physical Activity and Recreation Programs

Several key points can be made verifing value and critical need for Federal programs of physical activity and recreation. These programs are all relevant to health, quality of life years, and well-being, as well as being related to independent living in the community. Likewise. physical activity programs can play significant roles in reducing secondary disease and disability. There is also interdependence for health and effective community leisure participation; physical activity is not an end unto itself. Quality physical activity programs cut across many Federal departments and agencies, but are not central themes within the departments or agencies.

Participation in physical activity programs can have a positive impact on quality of life. as well as costs for health care. Enrollment in regular physical activity programs can reduce the costs of health care access by over $2.000 per person per year. People with disabilities can benefit most directly from these programs, as they can reduce the impact on disability regarding physical activity, and can also reduce effects of secondary health conditions such as diabetes, cancers, obesity, asthma, arthritis, and other predominantly preventable conditions.

Program Cuts and Reductions

There are at least three kinds of program cuts: l) Dollar Cuts: fewer dollars than the FY2006 final appropriation: 2) Service Cuts: fewer dollars than the FY2006 final appropriation plus inflation: and 3) De-funded: no program dollars at all.

Service cuts have been most prevalent in the past. For instance, in the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) personnel preparation program, appropriations were the same for 10 years. Adjusted for inflation, this represents a 30% decrease in the value of the program over 10 years. In all, there were approximately 25 programs relevant to physical activity and/or recreation that received some form of cut in the President's FY2007 budget.

Program Cuts in Departments and Agencies Associated with Physical Activity

The Department of Education--Physical Education for Progress Act and the recreation research programs have been de-funded, while the personnel preparation programs within the OSEP have received a service cut (flat funding equaling a reduction when considering inflation). The Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saw three programs with cuts: 1) Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Program received a reduction in funding; 2) the School Health Program also received reduction in funding; 3) the Youth Media Campaign which promotes physical activity was de-funded.

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