The U.S. spends much more on health care than any other country in the world, yet the average life expectancy is far below many other countries that spend less. More than 75 percent of U.S. health care dollars are spent treating people with chronic conditions. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes top the list of the most deadly and expensive chronic diseases. Many of these diseases are directly related to three unhealthy behaviors: physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and tobacco use. Combined, these behaviors cost Minnesotans almost $6 billion in health care costs every year.*
The good news is that these behaviors are modifiable, and prevention is much less expensive than medical treatment. SHIP focuses on prevention by promoting opportunities to be active, eat healthy, and prevent or stop tobacco use. Many studies have found that investing in prevention pays off. For example, The Trust for America’s Health estimates that $5.60 is returned for every $1 invested in prevention.
There is evidence that SHIP and other prevention work happening throughout Minnesota is making an impact on obesity rates and tobacco use. In 2016, the Minnesota adult obesity rate of 27.8 percent was below the median U.S. rate of 29.9 percent and is lower than neighboring Midwestern states. From 2010 to 2014, adult smoking rates fell from 16.1 percent to 14.4 percent. Smoking rates among 11th graders dropped from 12.2 percent in 2013 to 8.4 percent in 2016.**