Chronic diseases are responsible for 70% of deaths among Arizonans each year and 75% of health spending. These diseases are often preventable and can be managed effectively when detected early. While many factors can contribute to chronic diseases, it is important to understand that you can greatly lower your risk of developing a chronic disease, and prevent or delay the onset of disease by not using tobacco, maintaining a healthy diet, staying physically active, and getting annual health screenings that are appropriate to your age and other risk factors.
Our Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease is the Point Guard for chronic disease prevention in AZ, and as such they’re in a leadership role to facilitate the interventions that are required to make a difference. For example, last week our team sponsored a Conversations on Cancer forum with over 70 leveraged stakeholders from across Arizona and provided input about using effective policy and communication strategies to coordinate health delivery systems statewide. These conversations focused on how to dedicate and leverage resources toward the end goal of having a measured impact on risk-appropriate screenings in Arizona (like colorectal screening among 50 year-olds). You may have noticed some of the considerable media attention directed on the recent media release that Arizona has the lowest overall cancer rates in the U.S. We’re pleased that this received strong attention at the state, and now national levels, but remain committed to translate this into a call to action on the urgent need for more screening and early detection.