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Obama and Sonoma County are in synch on health action

December 6, 2008
by DR. BO GREAVES and JANE BENDER
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County and Barack Obama are pulling in the same direction.

After a long presidential campaign filled with ideas and promises, the president-elect's strategy for action on health and health care coverage began to come into focus when he named former Sen. Tom Daschle his director of the White House Office of Health Reform as sell as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Clearly, health care reform is Daschle's No. 1 marching order...

Here are some examples of how: The risk of heart disease can be cut 4 percent just by adding one additional serving of fruit or vegetables a day to a person's diet. Exercising just 2½ hours a week can reduce chances of developing diabetes by 60 percent. A wholesome, nutritious diet could reduce by 35 percent cancer deaths attributable to poor eating habits. And dozens of studies have shown that getting connected with primary care leads to significantly lower medical costs, better quality care and better health outcomes.

These are the findings of a study released last year by the New York Academy of Medicine. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Endowment, the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) study shows how community health can be improved and money can be saved by investing in effective preventive health initiatives.

The study showed that spending $10 per person per year on community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent smoking could save the country $16 billion a year within five years. The TFAH formula estimates a $2 billion savings to California within five years.

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