Report: Americans’ health in jeopardy without major changes

A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America (www.commissiononhealth.org) finds children could live sicker, shorter lives than their parents, according to an article in Philanthropy News Digest.

The report, Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America, found that how long and how well Americans live depends more on where individuals live, learn, work and play than on their medical care, which only accounts for an estimated 10 percent to 15 percent of preventable early deaths. What’s more, Americans overall are not nearly as healthy as they should be, regardless of where they live, their income, education, or racial or ethnic group.

The report argues that the health of Americans will not improve unless individuals do more to incorporate health into all aspects of their everyday life and unless leaders do more in their decision-making to support healthier decisions in everything from education and child care to community planning and business practices.

Recommendations in the report included ensuring that all children have access to high-quality education and child care; using federal funds to provide only healthy, nutritious food in schools; providing at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day for every child in school; and creating public-private partnerships to open grocery stores in communities without access to healthy food.

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