Epidemiology Program Office - An Ounce of Prevention....What Are the Returns? Second Edition, Revised October 1999
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Click here for PDF fileAn Ounce of Prevention....What Are the Returns? Second Edition, Revised October 1999

Contents

Introduction

HIV/AIDS Transmission

Bicycle-Related Head Injuries

Influenza Among Elderly Persons

Breast Cancer

Low Birthweight

Cervical Cancer

Neural Tube Defects

Childhood Lead Poisoning

Perinatal Hepatitis B

Childhood Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Pneumococcal Disease

Chlamydia-Related Infertility

Sickle Cell Screening in Newborns

Colorectal Cancer

Smoking

Coronary Heart Disease

Tuberculosis

Dental Caries

Summary Table

Diabetic Retinopathy

Introduction

As the nation moves toward the twenty-first century, the fundamental challenge facing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the same as it was in its early days over 50 years ago --- improving the quality of people’s lives by preventing disease, injury, and disability through collaboration with public and private partners throughout the world.

CDC seeks to improve health, but to do so in economically responsible ways. When human and financial resources are limited, public health efforts must focus on prevention strategies that yield the most benefit for the investment. Fortunately, many current prevention strategies already offer excellent opportunities to promote good health at a reasonable cost.

Measuring the Costs

This report outlines 19 strategies and demonstrates how spending money to prevent disease and injury and promote healthy lifestyles makes good economic sense. Each prevention strategy was evaluated based on ---

check.gif (69 bytes)the health impact of the related disease, injury, or disability on U.S. society;
check.gif (69 bytes)the effectiveness of the prevention strategy;
check.gif (69 bytes)the costs of the disease, injury, or disability; and
check.gif (69 bytes)the cost-effectiveness of the strategy.

Some childhood vaccines, for example, save up to $29 in direct medical costs for each dollar spent. Other strategies, such as yearly mammograms, carry a net cost but are considered cost-effective because they give considerable value in return for the money invested.

By using a standardized method to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of each strategy, the authors have established a starting point for comparing the variety of information. The result is a sound economic guideline for making prevention decisions and allocating money.

To reach their conclusions, the authors reviewed an array of research studies. Although these studies were chosen through extensive search and rigorous evaluation, the information presented is limited by the methods, assumptions, and accuracy of the original research. Many studies were conducted in specific populations, for example, and the reader should exercise caution in generalizing the findings. Because of these limitations, continued research is needed to further demonstrate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these and other public health strategies.

A summary of the assumptions and variables used in the original studies is provided on the inside back cover. For more information regarding particular studies or prevention strategies, please consult the cited references.

As the nation moves toward the twenty-first century, the fundamental challenge facing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the same as it was in its early days over 50 years ago --- improving the quality of people’s lives by preventing disease, injury, and disability through collaboration with public and private partners throughout the world.

CDC seeks to improve health, but to do so in economically responsible ways. When human and financial resources are limited, public health efforts must focus on prevention strategies that yield the most benefit for the investment. Fortunately, many current prevention strategies already offer excellent opportunities to promote good health at a reasonable cost.

Inquiries regarding "An Ounce of Prevention....What Are the Returns? Second Edition" may be directed to:

Chief, Prevention Effectiveness Branch
Division of Prevention Research and Analytic Methods
Epidemiology Program Office
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
4770 Buford Highway, MS K73
Atlanta, GA 30341
Phone: 770-488-8185
E-mail address: epopeb@cdc.gov

The material presented in this publication was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine’s April 1999 issue.

 


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