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Prevention: An investment in the nation's health (and wealth)

(Lynn R. Goldman, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, and Paul H. Irving, Milken Institute) Right now, our system waits until someone gets sick before costly treatment kicks in for an established disease. But the current system has got it all wrong. To keep our nation strong, lawmakers simply must start directing more resources toward programs that make it easier for people to avoid getting sick in the first place…
The bottom line is prevention just makes good economic sense: Nationally an investment of just $10 per person per year in programs aimed at better nutrition, physical activity and the prevention of tobacco use could save the nation more than $16 billion within five years, according to a 2008 report. The return on that investment comes to more than five dollars for every dollar spent.
That's a healthy return and one that would help push us toward the "rising America" that President Obama referred to in his State of the Union address. After all, disease prevention through innovative solutions and smart policy change would not only improve the lives of individuals and families but it would also help build a stronger, more resilient, and more economically powerful nation.
These are goals we can all agree on and work toward together.
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