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Study suggests increase in public health spending results in healthier people
Date:8/5/2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. (August 1, 2011) A groundbreaking new study published in the journal, Health Affairs, suggests that increases in public health spending result in healthier people, especially in communities with fewer resources.

The study was co-authored by Glen P. Mays, the new F. Douglas Scutchfield Endowed Professor in Health Services and Systems Research at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health. At UK, Mays is affiliated with the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Sharla A. Smith, a research associate in the Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, co-authored the study.

The study examined whether changes in spending by local public health agencies over a 13-year period contributed to changes in rates of community mortality from preventable causes of death, including infant mortality and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

The researchers found for every 10 percent increase in local public health spending, mortality rates from the four causes of death analyzed dropped anywhere from 1 percent to almost 7 percent.

"In light of the Affordable Care Act that authorized the largest expansion in federal public health spending in decades, coupled with an economic downturn that has precipitated large cuts in state and local government support for public health activities, it's critical to take a data-driven look at whether public health spending translates to improved health of our population," Mays said.

It's important to examine not only how much was spent, but also how it was spent, Mays said. "Our findings suggest that a connection between spending and health outcomes does exist, although it's important to note that resources must be successfully aimed at activities that target at-risk population groups to ensure that spending is resulting i
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Contact: Ann Blackford
ann.blackford@uky.edu
859-323-6442
University of Kentucky
Source:Eurekalert

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