Pulse of UTMC

The Value of Prevention – A Broad Prospective

My interest in prevention of cardiovascular diseases started well before I started my Masters degree at UT in Exercise Physiology focusing specifically in cardiopulmonary physiology. Below is a current illustration of our nation’s current debt and assets. The numbers are absolutely staggering to say the least. So… what exactly is the value of cardiovascular disease prevention, and will the savings from prevention make a difference?

Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease and other underlying causes such as obesity and tobacco use affect more than 130 million people, nearly half the population of the US. This burden consumes 75% of health care spending or $1.5 trillion annually… Now we’re talking!! If you still need a bit of convincing that prevention is best, the US spends 96% of Medicare dollars and 83% of Medicaid dollars on people with chronic conditions. High chronic disease and obesity rates are annually responsible for over $1 trillion in lost productivity in the workplace. The direct and indirect costs of CVD in the United States have been projected by the American Heart Association to increase from $272.5 and $171.7 billion in 2010 to $818.1 and $275.8 billion in 2030, respectively. The estimated cost of diabetes mellitus in the United States in 2007 was $174 billion, with 28% of expenditures attributed to cardiovascular complications of diabetes mellitus. Thus, most employers have invested in prevention wellness programs with positive results: (IBM has saved more than $175 million utilizing these programs, resulting in health care premiums that are 6-15% below industry averages. The CDC reported that for every dollar spent on prevention, $18.40 is saved. A study based on a simulation model found that for every $1 invested in building parks, and recreational areas such as trails, nearly $3 in medical cost savings may be achieved. A recent meta-analysis showed that medical costs fell by $3.27 and absenteeism costs fell by $2.73 for every dollar spent on worksite wellness programs.

When comparing the investment of prevention with the detriment of disease, one can see that it is simply a NO-BRAINER -that if together, we started to make healthy choices it would make a huge positive impact on our current economic situation!


(Weintraub et al., 2011)
Devol R, Bedroussian A. An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease. The Milken Institute. October 2007. Available at: www.chronicdiseaseimpact.com .
More program examples are available online at: www.fightchronicdisease.org/promisingpractices  and www.prevent.org/lbe  .
Full program description available at: http://promisingpractices.fightchronicdisease.org/programs/detail/ibm  .
Full program description available at: http://promisingpractices.fightchronicdisease.org/programs/detail/heath_care_university
Weintraub, W. S., Daniels, S. R., Burke, L. E., Franklin, B. A., Goff, D. C., Jr., Hayman, L. L., et al. (2011). Value of primordial and primary prevention for cardiovascular disease: a policy statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 124(8), 967-990.

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is Aaron is a passionate runner and triathlete. Aaron received his bachelors of science at Bowling Green State University in Applied Health Science Health Specialization. He has also completed his masters’ of science in Exercise Physiology with a focus in cardiopulmonary physiology and metabolism. He is currently attending Physician Assistant school at UT and hopes to practice Cardiothoracic or trauma surgery in the future. He is currently serving as president of the Graduate Student Association at the University of Toledo. For more information about this organization please visit www.utoledogsa.com.
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