Durkin: 'Primary Prevention' Two Important Words for Policymakers

March 1, 2013
by Helen Durkin
Roll Call


Just two words: primary prevention. They aren’t heard much in the ongoing health care debate. They haven’t caught on as political buzz words on Capitol Hill. They didn’t find their way among the utterances that grabbed our attention during the 112th Congress. But they are the very foundation on which a revitalized U.S. health care system must be built.

Not to be confused with health screenings and early diagnosis — which do matter in the effective treatment of many illnesses — primary prevention encompasses healthy lifestyle practices that deter diseases before they start. This is where we save lives, improve quality of life and avoid preventable health care spending.

Primary prevention includes healthy behaviors such as regular exercise, sound nutrition, and avoidance of tobacco and other controlled substances, along with routine stress management. We know it works.



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