Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Government Puts $100 Million into Disease Prevention. (Effort to Reform Risky Behaviors)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Government Puts $100 Million into Disease Prevention. (Effort to Reform Risky Behaviors)

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS -- Obesity, diabetes, and tobacco-related illnesses are killing hundreds of thousands of Americans at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars every year, and it's time to focus on prevention rather than treatment, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson said.

"We've got to reform behaviors. That's where we're going to get the most bang for our buck," Mr. Thompson said at a conference sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To that end, Secretary Thompson pointed out that President Bush has committed $100 million in his 2004 budget proposal to fund HealthierUS, a Health and Human Services Department initiative intended to encourage citizens and health care providers to focus more on prevention.

Of the $1.5 trillion spent on health care in the U.S., only 5% goes to prevention right now, he said.

Obesity, diabetes, and tobacco combine to lead to nearly 1 million deaths every year in the United States and cost the health care system nearly half a trillion dollars, Mr. Thompson said. That is money that is "working only on the margins of the health care problem."

"That, to me, is not the way we want America to go," he said via telephone. "This is a reflection on how we conduct our personal lives. …

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