Happy National Public Health Week 2013!
A lot of people don't realize that public health is all around them. Public health is one of those things that is not noticed when it is working well, but generally when something goes wrong (a disease outbreak, an emergency, and so forth).
Public health is...
in the water you drink
in the seat belts and car seats that keep us safe in our cars
in your child's early education
in your workplace safety
in your neighborhood playgrounds and sidewalks
in your cafeterias
in your doctors' offices and pharmacies
in the clean air you breathe
... and more!
Public Health's mission is to help every individual to attain a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being. Health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. We work at the population level, to improve the well-being of communities as a whole, not just one individual at a time.
This year's NPHW's theme is ROI - Return on Investment
The U.S. spends far more on health care than any other country, with such costs rising ten-fold from 1980 to 2010.
Did you know that only 2% of our U.S. healthcare dollars are spent on public health?
But we get BIG returns. Public health initiatives save millions of dollars and millions of lives! The more we focus on PREVENTION, the bigger the health impact.
- Routine childhood immunizations save $9.9 million in direct health care costs, save 33,000 lives and prevent 14 million cases of disease.
- A $52 investment in a child safety seat prevents $2,200 in medical costs, resulting in a return of $42 for every $1 invested. Similarly, a $12 investment in a child’s bicycle helmet can prevent $580 in medical costs, resulting in a return of $48 for every $1 invested.
- The cost of providing dental care for children enrolled in Medicaid and living in communities without fluoridation is twice as high as for children who receive the oral health benefits of drinking water fluoridation.
- Each 10 percent increase in local public health spending contributes to a 6.9 percent decrease in infant deaths, a 3.2 percent decrease in cardiovascular deaths, a 1.4 percent decrease in deaths due to diabetes, and a 1.1 percent decrease in cancer deaths.
- Every year, newborn screening efforts test nearly every baby born in the U.S. for health conditions that — if detected early enough — can be treated in time to prevent developmental problems, disability and death. For example, testing the 4 million infants born every year for congenital hypothyroidism costs $5 per newborn and prevents 160 cases of intellectual disability.
- By 2020, the direct benefits of the federal Clean Air Act will have reached almost $2 trillion, much more than the $65 billion it will have cost to implement the law. About 85 percent of the $2 trillion is attributable to decreases in premature death and illness related to air pollution.
- Citing the protective health benefits of breastfeeding, research finds that a minimum of $3.6 billion could be saved if more women began and continued to breastfeed their newborns through 6 months of age.
Whether it’s through research, data collection, health education, policy change or direct services, public health lays the foundations and creates the conditions that put the healthy choice well within reach.
Would you like a little more information on how public health works? Here are some great visuals:
These are all the groups that public health works through - the government, universities, the media, business, community organizations, and health care
This shows how public health works from one end of things - protection, promotion, prevention, preparedness for safer healthier people - and overlaps somewhat with the healthcare delivery system - disease care for affected persons.
Your health is affected by your health behaviors, the clinical care you receive, the physical environment in which you live, and social and economic factors. Social and economic factors have the largest impact (40%), and physical environment has the least (10%), but they all play a role in your health outcomes.