Prevention: A Blueprint for Action. Scope of the Problem


As the latest element of the Steps initiative, the Secretary established five HHS workgroups on specific areas that are central to advancing health promotion and disease prevention: diabetes, overweight and obesity, smoking cessation, media and messages, and health literacy.  Overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity, and smoking greatly increase the risk of developing serious diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease,  stroke, and cancer, accounting for much of the morbidity and mortality in the U.S., and the enormous direct and indirect costs associated with them.  In large part, these disorders stem from, and are exacerbated by, individual behaviors and, thus, are preventable.  The Department’s efforts to promote health and prevent such disorders depend in part on developing effective messages that are appropriate for individuals and groups in ways that they can understand and act on.  The goals of these workgroups were to evaluate current HHS programs and activities; recommend ways to better coordinate these efforts; and identify areas of opportunities for new initiatives.

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