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Report: Hoosiers Could be Healthier

August 31, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - Federal health-care reform is about more than insurance coverage.

Provisions related to disease prevention and better public health should be of interest to rural Hoosiers. Details are in a report released this week by the Center for Rural Affairs.

Study author Jon Bailey, director of the center's Rural Research and Analysis Program, says less-than-healthy lifestyles are connected with heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. All are expensive to treat and more common among rural residents.

"Serious health problems, which are up to 75 percent of the total health-care system costs. These are important long-term provisions for the health of people, and the health of the health-care system."

Another element of the health law that's linked to Hoosier values, Bailey says, is a focus on personal responsibility. However, he says Congress will have to act if the education and access to health screenings is to be successful.

"We can talk all we want about education and personal responsibility and such, but a lot of these efforts are going to need funding - especially in rural areas that don't have a lot of resources."

Prevention includes health screenings, as well as education with an emphasis on risky behaviors and unhealthy lifestyles.

The full report, "Prevention and Public Health," is online at cfra.org.

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN