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Study Highlights Costs of Chronic Disease

Friday, March 21, 2008 at 6:00 AM

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A national think tank unveiled a new study in Cleveland showing that reductions in chronic illnesses would pack a big economic benefit. Ideastream’s Bill rice reports.

The study by the Milken Institute based in California shows seven chronic illnesses – cancer, diabedes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, lung disease and mental illness – cost Ohio 56.8 billion dollars annually - about three quarters of that being in lost productivity.  Nationally the loss is 1.3 trillion dollars.  Ross DeVol, Director of Health economics at the Institute, says chronic in the U.S. has been rising – largely due to poor nutrition and lifestyle choices. 

DeVol:  “We estimate that somewhere between 60 and seventy percent of chronic disease is preventable through changing behaviors.  In other word, genetics and biology still plays a role, no doubt about it.  But by altering behaviors you can change the chronic disease prevalence rates...”

...And in turn, Devol says, reduce the expense of treating those illnesses while expanding productivity.  The study is purported to be the first of its kind to estimate avoidable costs if a serious effort were made to improve Americans’ health. 

Bill Rice, 90.3

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