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PNS Daily Newscast - September 29, 2020 

Trump tax revelations point to disparity in nation's tax system; Pelosi and Mnuchin make last-ditch effort at pandemic relief.

2020Talks - September 29, 2020 

Today's the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio. And a British news show reports a Trump campaign effort to suppress the Black vote in 2016.

Pessimistic Prognosis for Future Health of Arizonans

December 5, 2008

Phoenix, AZ – Arizona is growing less-healthy as more Arizonans report they are smoking than last year, and more than a quarter are now classified as obese. The significant negative indicators for future health are presented in a new report from the United Health Foundation, which ranks the state as the 33rd-healthiest in the U.S.

One factor in Arizona's decline could be less per-person spending on public health than most states, according to Bob England, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. He adds, what spending there is, ultimately proves wasteful.

"There are thousands of cases of disease that we know how to prevent and could prevent, but simply don't every year. Because of that, we pay a much higher cost in the long run."

Dr. England, who is past-president of the Arizona Public Health Association, says treating chronic and infectious diseases typically costs four times more than paying for proven prevention programs up-front. School nurses are among the most cost-effective components of the public health system, he says, but it's a position being hit hard by budget cuts.

"I don’t even think that all parents realize how thin the school nursing services are, where you have one nurse that's trying to cover three or four schools at a time."

Health advocates argue school nurses can be especially effective in helping children manage chronic conditions, including diabetes and asthma. If public health funding were increasing rather than shrinking, Dr. England believes more programs like the Nurse-Family Partnership would be possible.

"It's old-fashioned community health nursing. It is having a community health nurse visit a family at high risk for all sorts of problems, such as when they have their first pregnancy and their first child."

Beyond health benefits, England says families visited by community health nurses end up with 80-percent fewer incidences of child abuse and neglect, and 80-percent fewer juvenile justice convictions later in life.

The report from the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention is at

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ