April 1-7 is National Public Health Week, and the Kentucky Department for Public Health is working to raise awareness and help people live longer, healthier lives by promoting the 2013 week's theme: the return on investment of public-health services. Everyone likes sound, stable and high-return investments, and research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than $16 billion within five years. That’s a $5.60 return for every $1 invested.
“Our nation and community simply cannot sustain the current trajectory of health care spending and chronic disease Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, the state health commissioner, said in a Cabinet for Health and Family Services release. “Fortunately, we know that investing in prevention and public health can make an enormous difference and it’s the right direction for Kentucky to move in to address poor health outcomes.”
Supporting public health approaches to better health outcomes does reap life-saving returns, said Mayfield. For example, research shows that each 10 percent increase in local public health spending contributes to a nearly 7 percent decrease in infant deaths, a 3.2 percent decrease in cardiovascular deaths and a 1.4 percent decrease in diabetes-related deaths.
“In some way, public health touches everyone, every day in Kentucky. We are dedicated to making our infrastructure even stronger, including ongoing work to become nationally accredited in 2014, finding opportunities for improvement within our programs, and focusing on overall prevention for the health and well-being of Kentuckians,” said Mayfield.
Since 1995, communities nationwide have celebrated National Public Health Week each April to draw attention to the need to help protect and improve the nation’s health and to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners.
“We hope this week will serve as an opportunity for the public to learn more about the vital role of public health in Kentucky,” said Mayfield. (Click to learn more about the Kentucky Department for Public Health or National Public Health Week)