WASHINGTON, April 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from Richard Hamburg, Deputy Director of the Trust for America's Health (TFAH):
"By repeatedly proposing elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, policymakers have focused on a series of short-term "fixes," and, in so doing, are jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of all Americans.
Thus far, policymakers have attempted to use the $15 billion Fund to pay for what appears to be a never-ending parade of offsets for other policy priorities. The health and wellness of Americans are not pawns to be played in a game of federal finances.
Two years ago, in creating the Fund, the federal government made an historic investment in the future by focusing on keeping soaring health care costs under control, while, at the same time, helping those who wanted to be healthy get or stay healthy.
The Fund has received wide backing since it was created: 760 national, state and local organizations, representing a broad spectrum of sectors, have pledged their support for the Fund. In addition, on March 29, more than 120 CEOs of national organizations sent a letter to President Obama and Congress expressing deep disappointment on a negotiated reduction in the Fund's investment in the public's health.
A recent TFAH study finds that if the country ignores the obesity epidemic, obesity rates could be expected to grow from 32 percent to 50-51 percent for men and from 35 percent to 45-52 percent for women by 2030. In under two decades, the majority of our country could be not just overweight but obese.
To date, the Fund has provided resources to support evidence-based strategies at the community level that help people get healthy and will achieve significant gains such as reducing average body mass index (BMI). According to the same TFAH analysis, if we reduce the average BMI by just five percent, the county could save nearly $30 billion in health care savings in just five years.
However, if the country keeps using investments in the future to cover these short-term "fixes," our children will continue to be penalized and, for the first time ever, there's a significant chance that a generation will live shorter and less healthy lives than the previous generation.
The Fund was designed to help curtail rising health care costs and ensure everyone has access to resources that can help them get and stay healthy, if they so choose. Any cuts to the Prevention Fund guarantee the country will now be paying more for obesity-related health costs over the next ten years and Americans will be less healthy, productive and happy."
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
SOURCE Trust for America's Health