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Disease Prevention Important to Americans: Poll

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Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of Americans favor increased spending on disease prevention, and 70 percent believe investing in prevention will save, rather than cost, money, according to a national poll released Friday by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The findings from the survey of 1,008 respondents shows that disease prevention is one of the most popular components of health reform, according to the groups.

"This poll shows that Americans strongly favor specific proposals that focus on keeping Americans healthier in the first place instead of only treating them after theyve become sick," Jeff Levi, executive director of TFAH, said in a news release.

"Investing in proven prevention programs and policy changes that make it easier for all Americans to make healthier choices is essential for building a healthier America, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in the release.

Among the other poll findings:

82 percent of respondents support a proposal to ensure that public health workers are well- trained, have up-to-date laboratories and are adequately equipped to communicate with the public about health threats.

72 percent support creation of a public health investment fund that would dedicate annual funding to prevention, including improving nutrition and physical activity in schools and communities, expanding access to immunizations, and testing new approaches to staying healthy so people can make informed decisions about how to be healthy and prevent disease.

58 percent of respondents back establishment of an independent preventive services task force to review scientific evidence and cost-effectiveness of prevention programs, recommend ways to improve prevention programs, and provide local community health services with key information to help people make healthier choices.

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