Investing in obesity and disease prevention to improve health
The Affordable Care Act created the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Prevention Fund), the first mandatory funding stream dedicated to improving our nation’s public health. Administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Prevention Fund supports health initiatives run by states, counties, cities, non-profit organizations and tribal organizations. Congress appropriated more than $8.1 billion between FY2010 and FY2018 from the Prevention Fund.
A variety of Prevention Fund grants have focused on healthy eating and active living–two core pillars of the National Prevention Strategy–including Community Transformation Grants, the Small Communities Program, and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health.
The following recommendations regarding the Prevention and Public Health Fund originate from State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, 2018, produced by Trust for America’s Health and RWJF.
• Congress and the Administration should maintain and increase obesity-related emphasis in the Prevention and Public Health Fund and support the Healthy Food Financing Initiative in the Administration for Children and Families to ensure that underserved communities have access to grocery stores.
The Nemours Children’s Health System Early Childcare and Education Obesity Prevention Program
The CDC directed Congress directs $4 million from the Prevention Fund to National Early Child Care Collaboratives to support efforts to improve physical activity and nutrition in early childhood education (ECE) settings. The grant enables Nemours Children’s Health System Early Childcare and Education Obesity Prevention Program to reach ECE centers in 10 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, and Virginia. Through this grant, Nemours has supported 109 collaboratives among state partners, impacting obesity prevention efforts in more than 2,000 ECE programs serving more than 200,000 children.
The Community Transformation Grant program
The CDC’s Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program helped communities implement chronic disease prevention programs. In 2011, the CDC gave $103 million to 61 state and local governments, tribes and territories, and nonprofit organizations in 36 states. In 2012, CDC implemented the Small Communities Program, directing more than $70 million to 40 neighborhoods, school districts, villages, towns, cities, and counties with fewer than 500,000 people. Over the next three years, a variety of programs reported success; for example, more than 250,000 residents in seven Texas counties benefitted from funding that resulted in expanded community gardens, participation by local farmers in farmers’ markets, and produce donations to nonprofit organizations serving different populations.
Health equity and COMMUNITY HEALTH
Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) is a national program that has received support from the Prevention Fund. REACH supports state and local efforts aimed at reducing health disparities among minority populations. For example, REACH-funded projects helped to educate more than 14,000 Latinos in Maryland about the benefits of drinking water instead of sugary beverages, with five local businesses replacing soda machines with water fountains and providing educational materials on-site. Another project in New Mexico provided fruit and vegetable vouchers to Navajo families with limited access to healthy foods–the body mass index of children participating in the program fell by 41 percent over a five-month period, with participating families’ fruits and vegetables consumption rising by 48 percent. In Pontiac, Michigan, a REACH grant helped the city effectively promote the benefits of biking to its nearly 60,000 residents and led to the installation of 38 new bike racks across the city.
A Community Transformation Grant provided additional physical activity opportunities at workplaces, schools, and childcare settings in Maryland, reaching nearly 129,000 residents.
The United States spends more than $3.2 trillion on healthcare every year, but only 3% of federal health care spending supports preventive health initiatives like the Prevention Fund.
Over 100 businesses have, with support from the Prevention Fund, created comprehensive workplace wellness programs to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like obesity among employees.
- Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Through the Prevention Fund, the CDC provided colleges and universities in 11 states–all of which with adult obesity rates of at least 40 percent–with $13.9 million total in “High Obesity” grants in FY17 to improve physical activity and nutrition.
- Share on Twitter Share on Facebook A Community Transformation Grant in Iowa helped an estimated 113,000 residents have greater access to healthier foods and beverages at county-owned facilities, restaurants, and convenience stores.
Originally posted in August 2018.