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An ounce of prevention is worth ... $15 billion?




Janeth Fernandez holds her daughter Sarah during a newborn check-up on February 23, 2010 in Aurora, Colorado.
Janeth Fernandez holds her daughter Sarah during a newborn check-up on February 23, 2010 in Aurora, Colorado.
John Moore/Getty Images

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One would think it’s a no-brainer—give up a life of cheeseburgers and fries or give up your life. And yet Americans suffer from an epidemic of severe dietary and lifestyle-related illnesses. So wouldn’t it make sense for doctors to focus on lifestyle to prevent illness, instead of scalpels and drugs to treat them? There’s been impassioned debate about the new healthcare laws—but what’s been largely overlooked is a $15 billion fund to channel cash to programs that emphasize more healthy lifestyles. The effort will be coordinated by a “National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council.” But in this country chock-full of McDonald’s, Pizza Huts and Kentucky Fried Chickens, can this really make America more healthy?

Guests:

Daniel Zingale, Senior Vice President at The California Endowment, formerly a senior adviser to Governor Schwarzenegger, and one of the architects of California's 2007 attempt at health reform

Ted Marmor, Professor Emeritus of Public Management and Political Science at Yale University

Linda Van Horn, Director, Nutrition Research & Education in the Department of Preventative Medicine at Northwestern University