Chronic Disease Prevention Research Could Save Lives and Reduce Healthcare Costs

January 11, 2015 Medical News Today

Investigators have, for the first time, completed a comprehensive analysis of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding of research to prevent non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs) and determined that prevention research in the United States is severely underfunded. Specifically, the study found the NIH spends just 7 to 9 percent of its research budget on behavioral interventions to prevent NCDs, despite the fact that 70 percent of deaths in the U.S. are due to NCDs, and that treating people with NCDs accounts for approximately 84 percent of U.S. healthcare expenditures. The study is sponsored by the Vitality Institute and published in the online edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Derek Yach, the executive director of the Vitality Institute and the study’s senior author said, “This study provides compelling evidence that a lack of serious NIH investment in prevention science hampers health gains. The Office on Prevention is a needed start in correcting decades of neglect. That office needs to be fully financed and mandated to double the level of NIH investment in prevention science. The impact will be profound: more academics will seek careers in prevention science; better policies will be developed; and the U.S. could assume a leadership role in prevention science.”

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