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Defending the Prevention Fund

Larry Cohen, MSW. Photo courtesy of the Prevention Institute.

Larry Cohen, MSW. Photo courtesy of the Prevention Institute.

Social worker Larry Cohen says the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Prevention and Public Health Fund is helping Americans battle chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity and its budget should be preserved.

“The idea of the prevention fund was to make an ongoing investment in our nation’s future by providing support for efforts proven to reduce diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and other conditions,” Cohen, MSW, wrote in this column in The Hill.

Cohen is founder of Prevention Institute, an organization that brings research, practice, and analysis to pressing health and safety issues.

Funds have been siphoned from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to do other health initiatives, such as paying to enroll people in healthcare exchanges. However, Cohen said the money should only be used for what it was originally intended.

For instance Nashville, a city with one of the highest diabetes rates in the nation, used grants from the fund to build bike-friendly greenways and running paths and take high-fat junk food from school vending machines. And San Antonio set up salad bars in schools and exercise equipment in parks.

Social workers help clients maintain good health. To learn more visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” Healthy Lifestyles website.

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