The Health Equity Blog’s mission is to contribute to the discussion of health policy using evidence and research, to explore the opportunities for health equity through policy change, to raise awareness about health disparities, and to increase public advocacy for health equality.

According to the CDC, “Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to ‘attain his or her full health potential’ and no one is ‘disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.’”

Achievement of full health potential is necessary in all aspects of life – from running errands to relationships with loved ones. Some people are born into environments that limit their ability to achieve their full health potential. We believe that because society created many health inequalities, society can also fix them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We are Thankful for Health Policies - Day 2

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we are continuing our list of health policies we are thankful for.  Today’s theme seems to be centered around being able to breathe.  Feel free to tell us about the health policies you are thankful for in the comments.

Emily is Thankful For...
Smoke free laws. A smoke free policy prohibits smoking in a specific space. States, local governments, counties, and workplaces can pass smoke free policies. Thirty-six states have smoke-free laws that prohibit smoking in restaurants, bars and/or workplaces - impacting 81.5 of the U.S. population.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease in non-smoking adults. In children, secondhand smoke increases the risk of infant death syndrome, low birth weight, respiratory and ear infections, and asthma attacks. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and in the U.S. secondhand smoke kills about 50,000 people each year. Besides all the dangers of secondhand smoke, I am thankful that in the states I frequent (Illinois and Minnesota) I no longer need a special ‘bar’ coat and that I won’t come home from eating out smelling of smoke.

Heather is Thankful For…

The Clean Air Act.  This act went into effect on December 17th, 1963 and was amended significantly in 1970, 1977 and 1990 to add more regulatory controls.  The Act is a federal law that aims to control air pollution that is widely recognized as being harmful for public health.  When congress last amended the Act, they added a requirement that the costs and benefits of the act be studied.  The result is that we now know that not only has the act been successful in reducing some of the most common air pollutants (particulate, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, as well as other pollutants), but it has also done so without harming the economy.  In fact, it may have helped it.  The EPA estimates that the Clean Air Act cost $0.5 trillion which is a lot of money; however, the benefits of the Act were estimated to be between $5.6 trillion on the low end and $49.4 trillion on the high end.  Even if the more conservative estimate is the right one, that is a $5.1 trillion net benefit.  

Even more importantly, by 2020, the 1990 amendment of the Act alone will have saved 4.2 million lives, 43.8 million asthma exacerbation events, 3.3 million heart attacks, 2.1 million hospital admissions, 2.2 million ER visits and 3.3 million lost work days.  There is also research to suggest that the Act has reduced chronic and acute bronchitis and has increased life expectancy at the time of birth by 7 months.

1 comment:

  1. Hi this is nik smith: Beacon Counselling Trust (Liverpool Counselling Service) is a Liverpool based Registered Charity which utilizes completely qualified specialists who have far reaching background working with an extensive variety of individual and work identified issues.