William Weintraub, M.D., the John H. Ammon Chair of Cardiology at Christiana Care, is the lead author of a policy statement published in the print edition of the July 26 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association that says preventing heart disease before it starts is a good long-term investment in the nation’s health.
The statement summarizes years of research on the value of investing in prevention, particularly through community-based changes to make it easier to live a healthy lifestyle:
- Every dollar spent on building trails for walking or biking saves $3 in medical costs.
- Companies that invest in workers’ health with comprehensive worksite wellness programs and health work environments have less absenteeism, greater productivity and lower health care costs.
- Initiating a nationwide plan to drastically cut the amount of salt in the food supply to support an average intake of 1500 mg per day may reduce high blood pressure in the country by 25 percent, saving $26 billion in health care costs annually.
As a call to action, the statement puts an equal amount of responsibility on individuals and on society—specifically federal, state and local policy-makers.
“People often don’t realize the power to stay healthy is in their own hands,” said Dr. Weintraub in a press release from the American Heart Association. “But it’s not something many individuals or families can do alone. It takes fundamental changes from society as a whole.”