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Noting that chronic diseases account for three-quarters of U.S. health care costs and 70% of deaths, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Julie Gerberding, MD, urged the public health community and health care providers to help promote healthy lifestyles and prevention.
While data clearly show the risks of such things as obesity and smoking, the challenge is getting patients to change their habits, Gerberding told attendees at the Health Forum and American Hospital Association Leadership Summit in San Diego, which was held July 25-27.
To help frontline caregivers promote healthier lifestyles to patients, she said the agency is working to give them population-specific data on lifestyles and health. She urged health care leaders to press lawmakers for changes to the reimbursement system that encourage prevention as well. "We have a business case, we have a health case, and we believe we have a moral case (to do so)," Gerberding said.