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Boosting health and the economy

March 10, 2009
by Mary Engel
LA Times Booster Shots Blog

Public health advocates are praising the $1 billion for disease prevention and wellness programs included in President Obama's economic stimulus package but say that it is only a fraction of the billions needed to keep the country  healthy.

The United States spent about $35 billion a year on disease prevention in 2008, or about $17 per person, according to Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, a Washington-based advocacy group. That compares with $2.4 trillion spent on treatment.

According to the ounce-of-prevention argument, spending on the former would help whittle down the latter.

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