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A Surgeon General’s Opinion: Preventing Chronic Disease

In my quest to bring the best possible health advice to the Revolution Health community I am actively pursuing interviews with credible sources. At the top of the list is America’s #1 doctor, the Surgeon General. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, M.D., who served as Surgeon General from August 2002 to August 2006. He addressed a range of health issues facing Americans today. I am posting the interview in segments; the following post is part of that series.

Dr. Val: What is the most important message that Americans need to hear about chronic disease?

Dr. Carmona: The public needs to realize that we are spending more than 16% of our gross national product on healthcare, which amounts to over 2 trillion dollars per year. If you follow the curves out, and don’t do anything to change them, within the next decade we’ll be spending 20% of our GNP, or 4.1 trillion dollars per year. So the legacy we will leave our children in both disease burden and economic burden is unsustainable.

On top of that, 75 cents of every dollar we spend on healthcare is on chronic disease, most of which can at least be mitigated if not prevented. The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease recognizes this and has put together a coalition of academic and business organizations and advocacy groups to get the word out to the American public that fighting chronic disease is one of the best ways to begin to transform from a “sick-care system” to a “healthcare system.” The PFCD now has 110 partners and growing, because so many people recognize what we recognize – prevention of chronic disease is cost-effective and saves lives.

We need to do everything we can to prevent these chronic diseases, and we hope that more communities, employers, and patient groups will join us. We’re a non-partisan, non-profit organization, and all of us are trying to make the health of the nation better through the most cost-effective preventive strategies. Eliminating chronic disease is one of those main goals.


The Surgeon General series: see what else Dr. Carmona has to say about…

Cost Savings Associated with Preventive Health

Obesity is America’s #1 Health Concern

Consumer Directed Healthcare and Health Literacy

Complementary and Alternative MedicineThis post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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