Improve the Health Community
The health of a community depends upon many factors. Improving community health requires people from multiple fields to work collaboratively on an ongoing cycle of activities. Communities may be at different points in this process.
Chronic diseases are the most prevalent and costly health care problems in the United States. About 45% of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease. More than two-thirds of all deaths are caused by one or more of five chronic diseases (e.g.,heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes). Many chronic diseases are lifelong conditions that decrease the quality of life of those suffering from the diseases, family members, caregivers, and others.
Chronic disease is also a major driver of health care costs and threatens health care affordability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic disease accounts for about 75% of the nation's aggregate health care spending, about $5,300 per person each year. Chronic disease costs about 96 cents of every Medicare dollar and 83 cents per dollar for Medicaid. Increase costs for the last 20 years have resulted from rising disease prevalence, lower clinical thresholds for treatment, and new medical innovations to treat chronic and other diseases.
Unhealthy behaviors and increased incidence of chronic disease are also extremely costly in terms of health care coverage affordability. Since 2000, health insurance premiums for employer-sponsored family coverage have increased by 87%. Health care costs for people with a chronic condition is often near five times higher than for those without such a condition.
Unhealthy Truths About Chronic Disease in the U.S.
- Truth #1
- Chronic diseases are the No. 1 cause of death & disability
- Truth #2
- Treating patients with chronic diseases accounts for 75% of the nation's health care spending.
- Truth #3
- Two-thirds of the increase in health care spending is due to increased prevalence of treated chronic disease.
- Truth #4
- The doubling of obesity between 1987 and today accounts for 20 to 30% of the rise in health care spending.
- Truth #5
- The vast majority of cases of chronic disease could be better prevented or managed.
- Truth #6
- Many Americans are unaware of the extent to which chronic diseases could be better prevented or managed.
Things you can do to help
- Be an advocate
- Get the word out
- Talk about the problems and what needs to be done
- Start a conversation
- Become an advocate
- Contact local and government officials
- Work with local and state health departments
- Work with local hospitals
- Create coalitions and task force groups
- Share resources
- Communicate your message
- Use local and state media
- Celebrate success
Resources to Help
ACHIEVE fosters collaborative partnerships between city and county health officials, city and county government, tribal programs, parks and recreation departments, local YMCAs, local health-related coalitions, and other representatives from the school, business, health, and community sectors to implement improvements. State departments of health and other state-level partners provide additional resources and information to help communities meet their goals. Community-based improvements include increased access to and use of attractive and safe locations for physical activity, revised school food contracts that include more fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods, ordinances that protect children and adults from exposure to secondhand smoke and encourage nonsmoking, and requirements for sidewalks and crossing signals in neighborhoods to make them more pedestrian-friendly.
This project aims to create healthy communities where routine physical activity and healthy eating are accessible and affordable to all. The program aims to creates community-led change by working with local and national partners to build a culture of active living and healthy eating.
This a credible resource for evidence-based recommendations and findings on interventions and policies that improve health and prevent disease in communities. A user can conduct a search on various topics, such as nutrition, obesity, physical activity, tobacco, and diabetes. Also, the Community Guide provides information on policies, programs or services, funding, research, and education.
The YMCA is an inclusive organization of men, women, and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurture the potential of kids, promote healthy living and foster a sense of social responsibility. Learn more about what they are doing to assist people to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles.
This group can provide guidance for legal and policy issues and has had a special focus on the problem of childhood obesity. Here you can find resources to assist you with local policies around those actions that can improve health. Learn about things like Complete Streets, Farmers' Markets, Healthy Vending Machines, and Safe Routes to School, and many other things through their Document Library.
The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is a diverse, national coalition of more than 100 partner organizations committed to raising awareness of policies and practices that save lives and reduce health costs through more effective prevention and management of chronic disease. We share common concerns about the incredible burden that chronic diseases place on families, the health care system, and the economy overall.
This alliance was formed in 2001 to serve as a hub for cutting-edge policies aimed at improving eating and activity opportunities for all Californians. These ideas can also work within the Appalachian region.