For Immediate Release: June 13, 2012
Trust for America’s Health Statement on the Anniversary of the National Prevention Strategy
Washington, DC, June 13, 2012 – On the first anniversary of the historic National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) celebrates the Strategy for putting the country on a path toward improving the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities.
Because of the National Prevention Strategy (NPS), which was developed by the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, for the first time, 17 federal agencies have begun to work together to move the nation from a focus on sickness and disease to prevention and wellness.
In addition, the NPS calls on all sectors – state, tribal, local and territorial governments; business, industry and other private sector partners; philanthropic organizations; early learning centers, schools, colleges and universities; community and faith-based organizations; and all Americans – to join with the federal government in a collaborative effort to achieve the strategy’s goal to “increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.”
“By committing to including health as a component of policies and programs, these federal agencies are setting an example for all sectors by recognizing how their policies and programs contribute to the nation’s health and wellness. In addition, this cross-agency commitment shows how a focus on health and wellness improves their ability to address their core mission – whether it be education, housing and urban development, transportation, or the many other areas represented on the National Prevention Council,” said Jeff Levi, Executive Director of TFAH, who also serves as Chair of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.
At this one year mark, the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council released The National Prevention Council Action Plan: Implementing the National Prevention Strategy, which lays out the framework for implementation of the NPS by the 17 member agencies.
As noted in the Action plan, there are many examples of common approaches being taken to improve health across the government’s work. For instance, all federal campuses, including the Department of Defense and military bases, are moving toward going smoke-free in the near future. This means millions of additional Americans will be spared from the adverse health effects of second hand smoke.
In addition, under the healthy eating priority, one of the NPS Federal Actions is to work to ensure that foods purchased, distributed, or served in Federal programs and settings meet standards consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This action, which includes the Department of Defense, Health and Human Services, Veteran Affairs and the United States Department of Agriculture, will make healthier food choices more readily available to the millions of Americans who are federal employees, while also providing a strong model for the private sector and state and local governments on how they can improve the options they provide to their workforces.
“This is an important first step. I know that my colleagues on the Advisory Group are committed to assuring that we maintain the momentum of the past year and that real change results from the announcement of this implementation plan,” said Levi. “If followed, the Strategy will move the country from a sick care system to a true health care system by allowing easy access to resources that can help improve health and wellness for everyone.”
“The National Prevention Strategy has the potential to systemically change our heath system by creating healthy communities and providing programs and services to keep people healthy through prevention and wellness programs. On the first anniversary of the Strategy, it is important to note its accomplishments, but also continue to implement it to ensure the Strategy reaches its lofty goal of helping all American stay healthy, happy and productive.” – Valerie Brown, First County District Supervisor, County of Sonoma, California & Past President, National Association of Counties (NACo)
“It is exciting to see our Federal government, and many states and localities, increase the priority they afford prevention because it is the most valuable and cost-effective way to improve the nation’s health and reduce health disparities. The National Prevention Strategy has provided practical recommendations that have caused policy makers to focus on how their decisions in other sectors – such as housing, transportation, agriculture and others – can benefit health. For example: what will be the impact of existing agricultural subsidies on the obesity epidemic and how can the Transportation Bill help communities be more conducive to biking, walking and use of mass transit? In Los Angeles County, we are seeing more attention to this type of health in all policies approach, as more cities have added health as an element of their short and long term general plans.” – Jonathan Fielding, M.D., M.P.H, M.A., M.B.A., Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and County Health Officer
“Since its creation one year ago, the National Prevention Strategy has demonstrated how every sector of government – from transportation to education to commerce to housing – has an impact on public health. The Strategy, as built by leaders from 17 different federal agencies, will increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life and ensure the country has a true health care system, one that focuses on keeping people healthy in the first place, rather than waiting until they get sick to treat them. As a member of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health, I know the NPS has put the country on a path that will eliminate health disparities, empower people, and ensure anyone that wants to be healthy has access to the resources and support that can help them achieve this goal.” – Barbara Otto, Chief Executive Office, Health & Disability Advocates
“In just one year, the National Prevention Strategy has served as a catalyst in leading multiple sectors across the nation away from focusing primarily on curing disease and sickness toward a culture of ensuring health and wellness and thereby preventing chronic conditions. As we look to the future, it will take continued collaboration among partners to empower people, enhance our environments, re-engineer clinical preventive services and eliminate health disparities. Recognizing that health is more than healthcare, the NPS includes contributions from education, transportation, housing and many other sectors which make up the social determinants of health. The National Prevention Council and Advisory Group on Prevention support the tenets in the Strategy and manage accountabilities around this effort. As the elements outlined in the National Prevention Strategy are implemented, it will contribute in unprecedented ways to transform communities across the United States from a sick care system to a true health care system.” – Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, MS, Sr. Vice President of Community Health & Equity and Chief Wellness Officer, Gail and Lois Warden Endowed Chair on Multicultural Health, Henry Ford Health System
Trust for America’s Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. www.healthyamericans.org