Public health budget increases lower some mortality rates

Lisa Wurth

August 8, 2011

If more money is dedicated to the public health effort, people's health may improve, according to a recent study conducted by scientists at the Universities of Arkansas and Kentucky. They examined public health spending changes among local agencies over the past 13 years in comparison to preventable deaths caused cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and infant death. The researchers found that for every 10 percent budget increase, mortality rates dropped 1 to 7 percent.

"Although a definitive casual link between spending and mortality cannot be drawn, the study does provide compelling evidence that communities must pay attention to more than local medical resources…but also to the resources invested in local public health activities," said Glen Mays, one of the lead researchers. "It's important to note that resources must be successfully aimed at activities that target at-risk population groups to ensure that spending is resulting in positive outcomes."

While the researchers have shown that public health programs can benefit people with heath issues, it is not the only positive action that older adults can take for their health. Personal emergency response systems can keep seniors safe if they are injured or otherwise in need of medical assistance.