Public health pays off

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky – Public health is about creating conditions that make it easier for people to achieve a healthier life. The new dean of the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS), Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH, underscores the value of prevention and the importance of well-supported public health systems in preventing disease, saving lives and curbing health care spending as the school promotes the concept of Return on Investment(ROI): Save Lives, Save Money, the theme of National Public Health Week (NPHW), April 1-7.

    Blakely points to obesity as an example of an emerging health-related crisis with 70 percent of adults in the United States expected to face the disease by the year 2040. He says behavioral changes make a significant difference.

    “If we all took exercise seriously by just walking, we could save $50 billion in cardiovascular disease-related costs,” he said. “A 10 percent weight loss equals a $5,000 savings in health-related complications. A typical desk worker could lose a pound a month by standing two hours a day.”

    Blakely points to several other examples of public health’s potential ROI: