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Affordable Care Act Grants

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that over $100 million in funding will now be available for Community Transformation Grants. The Community Transformation Grants were made possible by the Affordable Care Act, which provides grants to help communities implement projects to reduce chronic diseases. The goal is to promote healthy lifestyles among those population groups experiencing the largest incidence of chronic disease. The new grants are targeted to help improve overall health, reduce health disparities, and lower health care costs.

The office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, released a statement saying the grant money will allow creation of new programs to promote healthier lifestyles and save millions in health care costs in the process. Sebelius said "Community Transformation Grants will empower local communities with resources, information, and flexibility to help make their residents healthier, and by helping to transform communities at the ground level, these efforts can have a major impact on the health of Americans."

The grants are primarily aimed at chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Health experts estimate that seven out of every ten deaths in the U.S. are caused by chronic diseases linked to tobacco use, obesity, poor diet, and not enough physical activity. Treatment of chronic diseases currently account for more than 75% of the $2 trillion spent on annually on medical care costs in the United States today. The problem of obesity alone already accounts for more than $147 billion in medical costs annually.

The new grants are focusing on five key areas of priority including tobacco-free living, active living and healthy eating, evidence-based clinical and preventive services, social and emotional wellness, and healthy and safe physical environments. Spending $100 million today could actually save millions more in health care costs in the future and the infusion of cash could make a significant impact on programs to halt the spread of heart disease, cancer, and stroke in the nation.