Health Reform Rapid Response: the conversation on prevention
Bolstering your own community’s successes with rigorous study data helps make the case for prevention more effectively. This week, we highlight several studies that provide concrete evidence for what we already know: community prevention works—and it’s working right now.
- In the July issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, “Effect of School District Policy Change on Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Among High School Students, Boston, Massachusetts, 2004-2006,” researchers found “significant reductions in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which coincided with a policy change restricting sale of sugar-sweetened beverages in [Boston] schools."
- The Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst released “Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study of Employment Impacts,” which showed that investing in bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure projects creates more jobs than roads-only construction.
- The USDA’s Economic Research Service’s study, “The Effect of Food and Beverage Prices on Children’s Weights,” found that lowering the price of healthy foods—like 100% juice, lowfat milk, and dark, leafy vegetables—by 10% was associated with healthier body weight.
- The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network has released two companion reports on the tobacco prevention, “Saving Lives, Saving Money.” One report revealed that raising the cigarette tax by $1/pack could save 1.32 million lives and approximately $645 million in heart-disease, stroke- and lung cancer-related costs. The second report found that extending comprehensive smoke-free laws to all states could save $1.32 billion in treatment costs and reduce smoking-related deaths by 624,000.
- Emerging research: In The Washington Post, “USDA launches pilot program aimed at getting more food from local farms into school cafeterias” reports on an independently released Ecotrust study (“The Impact of Seven Cents”), which showed that for every dollar spent on farm-to-school programs, there was $1.86 generated in economic activity. The study also found that for each job created directly by local food purchasing, another 1.43 jobs were created indirectly.
Know of any other new research to make the case for prevention? Please share them with us.
Tips to guide your conversation
When paired with the talking points below, studies like these underscore that prevention efforts are evidence based, and show multiple benefits—better health, more jobs and increased economic vitality.
- Prevention is based on decades of solid science. We all deserve to be healthy, and we are proud of the communities across the countries that are already showing results and building health.
- Experience and research show that building health in the places people live, work and play saves lives and money. Federal and local prevention dollars support strategies that have been field tested.
- We need to expand what is already working across the country so that everyone can enjoy health and prosperity. We can’t afford not to invest in what works.
What you can do:
- Send your congressperson a letter today, educating them about the importance of community prevention: we’ve made it easy, with tailored emails that you can send directly to your legislators.
- Partner with local leaders from different sectors--business, medicine, community members--to author a joint op-ed on the power of prevention.
- Write a blog, op-ed or letter to the editor of your local paper.
- Have a successful example of community prevention in action? Please share it with us so we can include it in our talking points.
- Visit our Health Reform Advocacy page for more information.