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Healthiest Nation Campaign To Improve Health Of US Residents

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

CDC on Tuesday launched the "Healthiest Nation Campaign," which seeks to promote efforts to improve the health of U.S. residents, USA Today reports. According to CDC Director Julie Gerberding, the campaign will seek to include efforts to improve health in social policies in all levels of government and all sectors. Gerberding will discuss the campaign at "Shaping Policy for a Healthier Nation," a conference on Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington, D.C., that will include more than 300 representatives from the business, non-for-profit, health care, sports and entertainment sectors.

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She said, "We put way too much emphasis on treating disease rather than protecting health in the first place," adding, "People are talking about health care reform, but they're not really talking about health." Disease management and prevention programs receive about five cents of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S., Gerberding said, adding, "Many countries have put more emphasis on health promotion" than the U.S. Gerberding said that disease prevention programs should focus on the "things we need to do before we get to the doctor's office," such as additional lanes for bicyclists and walking paths for pedestrians, more nutritious meal options in schools and a public smoking ban.

In addition, she said that expansion of health insurance to all residents would not be sufficient to ensure their health. "When people talk about access, they usually are thinking this person does or does not have insurance," but "access is a much more complicated issue than just insurance," Gerberding said, adding, "If you solve the problem of access, it at best would account for 25% of the health disparities we're seeing" (Rubin, USA Today, 7/8).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.