Trillion-dollar cost of chronic disease

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 5, 2007

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The annual impact of common chronic diseases on the U.S. economy recently was determined to be more than $1 trillion, which could rise to nearly $6 trillion by the middle of the century if preventive actions aren't taken, according to a study by the Milken Institute, a nonprofit, independent, economic think tank based in Santa Monica, Calif.

The cost of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions and mental illness were calculated by the institute at $1.3 trillion annually. Of that amount, $1.1 trillion represented the cost of lost productivity.

The study was said to be the first of its kind to estimate the avoidable costs of chronic conditions. "Any funding that we spend to prevent chronic disease today will actually be a valuable investment -- with long-term dividends," said former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, chair of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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