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For Immediate Release: September 19, 2011

TFAH Statement On Proposed Cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund: Harmful to America’s Health and Long-term Fiscal Security

Washington, DC, September 19, 2011 – The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) warns that the $3.5 billion in cuts over 10 years to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, as proposed under the President's Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction, puts America’s future health at risk and could result in increased health care expenditures for chronic disease and other preventable illnesses down the road.  This year, the Fund has provided $750 million to communities in every state for proven, effective ways to keep Americans healthier and more productive and reduce health care costs. 

The following is a statement from Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH, who also serves as Chair of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.  

“Preventing disease and injury is the most effective, common-sense way to improve health in the United States.  In a rush to secure short-term fiscal responsibility, let’s not tie one hand behind our back in our efforts to prevent chronic diseases and curb health spending. 

These proposed cuts would result in a 25 percent reduction in this new investment in prevention by FY15, disproportionate to those expected under the provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011. 

The Prevention Fund is an historic investment toward improving the country’s health and quality of life, reducing health care costs for families and businesses, and increasing productivity so the country can compete with the rest of the world.  It provides the chance to change our sick care system to a true health care system that focuses on keeping people healthy in the first place and ensuring that today’s children aren’t at risk of living shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.

Prevention programs are already having an impact – improving lives while saving money. 

For example, the Fund supports the Community Transformation Grant program, which focuses on promoting health throughout life, preventing the development of secondary conditions and injuries and violence, and encouraging healthier, more resilient communities.

A 2008 report by the Trust for America’s Health found that an investment of $10 per person per year in these types of proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years. This is a return of $5.60 for every $1.

Short-term financial maneuvers shouldn’t come at the expense of our health – or the long-term savings we gain from a healthier America.”

Trust for America’s Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. www.healthyamericans.org

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Contact

Media Contacts: Albert Lang (202) 223-9870 x 21 or alang@tfah.org or Laura Segal (202) 223-9870 x 27 or lsegal@tfah.org