Health Care

Florida groups get $8.2 million to fight chronic illnesses

Chronic conditions such as lung disease, obesity and diabetes are responsible every year for seven out of 10 deaths of Americans, and account for more than 80 percent of the $2.7 trillion the nation spends annually on medical care.

With those sobering statistics as a backdrop, the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday announced $8.2 million in grants to Florida governments and organizations to support programs aimed at preventing chronic diseases, many of them caused by tobacco use and poor nutrition, often precursors to heart trouble and strokes.

The groups will “use public health strategies to reduce tobacco use and exposure, improve nutrition, increase physical activity and improve access to chronic disease prevention,” according to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will administer the grants.

The Florida awards, targeted toward populations hardest hit by chronic diseases and funded partly by the Affordable Care Act, are part of more than $211 million in grants to organizations around the country.

In South Florida, Miami-Dade County is to receive $3.3 million and the Broward Regional Health Planning Council $1.7 million. The state of Florida will receive $930,084.

“Tobacco use, high blood pressure and obesity are leading preventable causes of death in the United States,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement released by HHS. “These grants will enable Florida local health departments, community organizations, and other partners from all sectors of society to help prevent heart disease, cancer, stroke and other leading chronic diseases, and help Floridians to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.”

This story was produced in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.