National Institutes of Health

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According to the National Institutes of Health, about half of all health problems are caused by behavior, such as smoking, excess drinking, and poor diet. The majority of the rest are caused by problems in the environment, such as pollution and unsafe working conditions. All these are preventable. A growing number of healthcare professionals around the world see changing the behavior of populations (as Americans changed their smoking habits), and cleaning up the environment as a highly effective use of healthcare funds. One expression of this is the rapid growth of the WHO’s “Healthy Cities” movement. Spending money on this has promise of reducing the overall healthcare cost before it’s too late.