On June 16, 2011, the Surgeon General of the U.S. along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and members of the National Prevention Council, announced the release of the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy, which was mandated under the Affordable Care Act. This is a comprehensive plan to help increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.
The strategy was developed by the National Prevention Council, established under the Affordable Care Act, which is composed of 17 federal agencies who consulted with outside experts and stakeholders.
A full copy of the National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness was posted, along with links to additional information about it, on HealthCare.gov, the HHS website dedicated to providing health care information and helping Americans understand and obtain the benefits available under the Affordable Care Act.
The government also added a new page to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website, dedicated to the National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness.
The National Prevention Strategy outlines four overall strategic directions in which it seeks to focus actions of both public and private partners, aimed at improving the nation’s health. As summarized on the CDC website, these include:
- Building Healthy and Safe Community Environments: Prevention of disease starts in our communities and at home; not just in the doctor’s office. For example, businesses and employers can adopt practices to encourage their workforce to increase physical activity and reduce pollution (e.g., workplace flexibility, rideshare and vanpool programs, park-and-ride incentives, travel demand management initiatives, and telecommuting options)
- Expanding Quality Preventive Services in Both Clinical and Community Settings: When people receive preventive care, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, they have better health and lower health care costs. For example, expanding the linkages between clinical and community prevention efforts, such as diabetes prevention programs that support preventive efforts among underserved groups and can improve access to preventive services.
- Empowering People to Make Healthy Choices: Policies and programs can make healthy options the easy and affordable choice, and when people have access to actionable and easy-to-understand information and resources, they are empowered to make healthier choices. For example, health care professionals can use multiple communication tools (e.g., mobile phone applications, personal health records, and credible health websites) and culturally competent methods to support more traditional written and oral communication.
- Eliminating Health Disparities: By eliminating disparities in achieving and maintaining health, we can help improve quality of life for all Americans. For example, health care providers can train and hire more qualified staff from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups and people with disabilities.
The National Prevention Strategy identifies evidence-based recommendations that are most likely to help achieve these goals and reduce the burden of leading causes of preventable death and major illness. The Strategy’s seven priority areas are:
- Tobacco free living
- Preventing drug abuse and excessive alcohol use
- Healthy eating
- Active living
- Injury and violence-free living
- Reproductive and sexual health; and
- Mental and emotional wellbeing
“This National Prevention Strategy, called for under the Affordable Care Act, will help us transform our health care system away from a focus on sickness and disease to a focus on prevention and wellness,” Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, said in a HHS release. “We know that prevention helps people live long and productive lives and can help combat rising healthcare costs,” she said.
In statement accompanying the release of the Strategy, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin said, “As a family physician, I understand the importance of stopping disease before it starts. The leadership of this Council and the Strategy will help us create a healthy and fit nation by making prevention a part of our daily lives.”
The National Prevention Strategy was developed with guidance from the public and is supported by the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health as called for under the Affordable Care Act. Through listening sessions at national and regional meetings, webinars, and town hall meetings across the country, the advisory group and the public had the opportunity to work with the council members to craft the strategy.
“The National Prevention Council, the advisory group, and private and public partners will work together to help implement the strategy at the national, state, tribal, and local levels, and recognize the importance of actively engaging all sectors of society in improving the health and well-being of our communities,” according to a release issued by HHS.
For more information on the release of the National Prevention Strategy, visit HealthCare.gov;
Or see, the website of the CDC, page dedicated to National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness
See also, HelpingYouCare™’s featured resource pages on Wellness/ Healthy Living for Seniors & Caregivers
And, see our resource pages focusing on Prevention for each of 14 Medical Conditions Commonly Faced by Seniors
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