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Guest opinion: Primary prevention is public health

September 3, 2012
by John Felton and Ellen Leahy
Great Falls Tribune

It is well known that the United States spends a lot of money on medical care; more than $8,000 for each man, woman and child or about $2.6 trillion in 2010. What do we have to show for our investment? Because we spend twice as much on medical care than what the fourteen wealthiest nations in the world spend, does that mean we are healthier? No. The U.S. did not even make the top twenty on Bloomberg’s recent “Healthiest Countries” ranking.

How do we become a healthier nation? Investing in public health is part of the answer. Of the more than $8,000 health expenditure for every American, only $250 is spent on public health. This is alarming when we consider how many medical care expenditures can be prevented through primary prevention activities. Primary prevention is public health.

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