A new Health Affairs study explores the possible connection between increased public health spending on several preventable conditions and significant declines in mortality rates between 1993-2005. The survey found that mortality rates for infant deaths, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer fell between 1.1 percent and 6.9 percent for each corresponding 10 percent increase in related local public health spending. However, the report did not find a link between public health spending and overall mortality rates.
The study also found:
- Efforts to reduce infant mortality and cardiovascular disease received the biggest boost from public health spending. For each 10 percent increase in public health spending, infant mortality rates fell by 6.9 percent, while mortality rates linked to cardiovascular disease fell by 3.2 percent.
- On the other end of the spectrum, influenza mortality rates declined by only .25 percent per 10 percent increase in public health spending.
- In 2005, 73 percent of U.S. local health departments maintained screening or risk reduction for cardiovascular disease, 74 percent delivered maternal and infant health programs, and 69 percent offered activities to reduce tobacco exposure.
- Per capita public health spending in states varies widely, from less than $4 per capita in Nevada to roughly $171 in Hawaii.