Chronic diseases are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. They are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S and include heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Chronic diseases currently account for seven of every 10 deaths and affect the quality of life of 90 million Americans.[i][ii]
The Four Common Causes of Chronic Disease
1.Lack of physical activity
4.Excessive alcohol consumption
These health risk behaviors are all modifiable and yet are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases.[iii]
This video, produced by the Institute of Medicine, highlights a recent report on the integration of primary care and public health. Slides for the program can be used for presentations and downloaded here.
The Healthy Hawaii Initiative (HHI) supports healthy lifestyles by implementing policies and programs to create sustainable changes in Hawaii’s communities, schools, and workplaces. Launched in 2000, HHI is a statewide effort focused on reducing three core behaviors that contribute to chronic disease: smoking; inactivity; and poor diet. The HHI is made up of five interrelated components:schools; community programs; public and professional education; research and evaluation; and nutrition education network.
The Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. Portal provides access to Web-based resources that can assist in the following: assessing the cancer and/or risk factor burden within a given state; identifying potential partner organizations that may already be working with high-risk populations; understanding the current research findings and recommendations; accessing and downloading evidence-based programs and products; and finding guidelines for planning and evaluation. (Source: CDC/ Amanda Mills)
CDC’s Healthy Communities program works with communities through local, state, and territorial entities as well as national partnerships to improve the skills of community leaders and stakeholders and expand commitments for establishing, advancing, and maintaining effective population-based strategies that reduce the burden of chronic disease and achieve health equity.
This report from the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council from the Office of the Surgeon General outlines a national plan for better health and wellness. The strategy is aimed to move America away from a system of sick care to one based on wellness and prevention. They demonstrate how preventing diseases before they start is critical to help people live longer, healthier lives and to keep healthcare costs down.
This resource is a CDC publication released in 2009 that covers chronic diseases, their causes, and costs. It also includes a vision for prevention and a call to action related to well-being, policy promotion, health equity, research translation, and workforce development.
Developed by the CDC and RTI International, in partnership with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and the National Pharmaceutical Council, this calculator helps states estimate the burden and financial impact of chronic diseases among their Medicaid beneficiaries.
The Chronic Disease Cost Calculator is a downloadable tool that supports states in:
Estimating state Medicaid expenditures for six chronic diseases – congestive heart failure, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancer, and diabetes.
Generating estimates of the costs to Medicaid of selected chronic diseases using customized inputs (e.g., prevalence rates and treatment costs).
State-by-state information, such as fact sheets, funding, legislation, reports, state-based programs and projects, statistics, and data for chronic diseases, are included in this resource from the CDC.
This is a resource for patients to learn more about their medical conditions and explore different treatment options. The clinical knowledge website helps patients to ask the right questions to get the best possible care from their healthcare provider.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines emphasize three major goals: balance calories with physical activity to manage weight; consume more of certain foods and nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood; consume fewer foods with sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and refined grains. The report includes 23 key recommendations for the general population and six additional key recommendations for specific population groups, such as pregnant women. The recommendations are intended to help people choose an overall healthy diet.
Six one-hour workshops were developed, based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Each workshop includes a lesson plan, learning objectives, talking points, hands-on activities, videos, and handouts. The workshops are designed for community educators, health promoters, dietitians/nutritionists, cooperative extension agents, and others to teach to adults in a wide variety of community settings.
This report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation predicts that by 2030 more than half the people in 39 states will be obese, not just overweight. This increase can contribute to millions of new cases of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and other obesity-related diseases over the next 20 years; by 2030, medical costs from treating obesity-related diseases are likely to increase by $48 billion, to $66 billion per year. The report recommends several policy changes be adopted nationwide, including updating nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages in schools, making physical education and physical activity a priority, and more support for healthy nutrition in federal food programs that help low income families.
• According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) State Indicator Report on Physical Activity: 2010 Behavioral Indicators, only 64.5% of adults and 17.1% of children in grades 9 through 12 are physically active.
• Tobacco use is responsible for one in five deaths in the U.S. (about 443,000 deaths each year. Approximately 49,000 of these deaths result from secondhand smoke exposure.
• Cancer in the U.S. kills more than half a million people each year.
• The CDC estimates that there are 19 million new sexually transmitted infections every year in the U.S.
• More than 616,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year – amounting to about 25% of total U.S. deaths. In addition, heart disease is a leading cause of disability in the U.S.
• Infectious diseases have caused approximately 170,000 annual deaths in the U.S. since 2000.
• Influenza kills around 30,000 Americans annually, and epidemiologists agree that it is not a question of whether, but when, the next killer pandemic will occur.