Harkin: National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council Report Demonstrates Comprehensive Approach to Wellness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today on the first report submitted to Congress by the new National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council.  The Council was created under the recently passed health reform bill, The Affordable Care Act, and is a core component of the Prevention and Public Health title, which Harkin crafted.  Today’s report summarizes the actions taken by the Council and presents the principles that the Council will use to guide the development of the strategy.  The full report can be found here and a fact sheet can be found here.

“I commend Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin and the Council on their progress to date, as outlined in this report," said Harkin.  "This council is playing an important part in our comprehensive efforts to transform our nation into a wellness society with a focus on prevention and healthful living.  

“I am particularly pleased that the Council is focusing on inter-agency collaboration.  Promoting the well-being of Americans is not the responsibility of just one agency, but cuts across all sectors of government including transportation, environment, education, housing and labor.  The Council is also making important strides in chronic disease prevention, particularly in fighting obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.  This is especially evident in the Council’s efforts in creating community environments that make healthy choices easy.  

“Today’s report is just further evidence of the promise of health reform coming into fruition and I look forward to seeing all of the benefits of this historic legislation as we move forward.”

The Affordable Care Act created the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, Chaired by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and composed of senior government officials across federal departments and agencies, and charged it with elevating and coordinating prevention activities and designing a focused strategy across federal departments to prevent disease and promote the nation’s health.  The report submitted today is the Council’s first, and an early step in the Administration’s development of a first-ever National Prevention and Health Promotion strategy.  The Strategy’s impact will be significant because it will take a comprehensive approach to prevention and well-being—identifying and prioritizing actions across government and between the public and private.  Both the forthcoming Strategy and the ongoing work of the new Council present a historic opportunity to bring prevention and wellness to the forefront of the nation’s efforts to improve the health status of all Americans.

Harkin has been a leader in efforts to invest in prevention and wellness for over a decade and on efforts to fight childhood obesity.  Information on these efforts can be found here.

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