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Prevention Pays!

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

March 25, 2013

In public health, prevention pays. What does this mean? If costly conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented, then money can be saved on care. Preventative behaviors such as avoiding tobacco, getting medical screenings, and breastfeeding have a high return on investment (ROI). When each person engages in these healthy habits, Florida saves money.

By valuing prevention measures, Florida can continue to curb health care spending, save lives, and become the healthiest state in the nation.

During National Public Health Week, take a look at the healthy amount of ROI that has been yielded in past years as a direct result of prevention.

How Does Prevention Pay?

$5 billion = The estimated savings from reductions in syphilis and gonorrhea from 1990 to 2003 in the U.S;

$3.6 billion = The potential decrease in annual health costs in the U.S. through increased breastfeeding;

$1.3 billion = The amount of savings in health care costs alone in Florida for every 1 percent decline in the smoking rate;

$30 million = The amount averted in neonatal intensive care costs through Florida’s serving of over 11,000 high-risk pregnant women through its Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Centers;

$28,000 = The estimated average of first-year medical costs saved by raising birth weight by even half a pound for a low birth weight infant;

$11,890 to $29,725 = The cost per year of life saved in which colorectal screening can extend;

$9,500 = The amount of health care costs reduced when an adult smoker who quits smoking in their lifetime;

$38 = The amount saved in dental treatment costs for every $1 invested in water fluoridation;

$17 = The economic benefits produced through early identification and treatment of children who are at risk of developmental delay for each $1 spent on the programs;

1= The number of people it takes to make preventative behavior changes that can impact ROI.

(Source: DOH’s Prevention Pays report)

What’s on the ROI Horizon?

If BMIs lowered 5 percent, Florida could SAVE more than $12 billion in health costs by 2020 and $34 billion by 2030.

If BMIs lowered 5 percent, this number of Florida residents could be spared from new cases of obesity-related diseases by 2030:

500,000—Type 2 diabetes (savings of $14 billion)

465,000—Coronary heart disease and stroke (savings of $14.6 billion)

400,000 —Hypertension ($2 billion)

218,000—Arthritis (savings $2.8 billion)

43,000—Obesity-related cancer (savings of $650 million)

(Source: Trust for America’s Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2012)