Today's children to live shorter lives

Jan. 30, 2013 at 10:40 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Today's U.S. children could be on track to be the first in U.S. history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents, a non-profit group says.

"America's health faces two possible futures," Gail Christopher, president of the Board of Trust for America's Health and vice president, program strategy of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, said in a statement.

"We can continue on the current path, resigning millions of Americans to health problems that could have been avoided or we invest in giving all Americans the opportunity to be healthier while saving billions in healthcare costs."

Prevention delivers real value as a cost-effective way to keep Americans healthy and improve their quality of life, said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of TFAH.

"Everyone wins when we prevent disease rather than treating people after they get sick," Levi said. "Healthcare costs go down, our local neighborhoods are healthier and provide more economic opportunity, and people live longer, healthier, happier lives."

The Healthier America report recommendations include:

-- Restructuring federal public health programs and ensuring sufficient, sustained funding.

-- Ensure insurance providers reimburse for effective prevention approaches both inside and outside the doctor's office.

-- Work with non-profit hospitals to identify the most effective ways they can expand support for prevention.

-- Encourage all employers, including federal, state and local governments, to provide effective, evidence-based workplace wellness programs.

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