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Federal government offers grants for states to combat chronic diseases Posted: June 8th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Concerned about the rising cost of chronic illnesses, the federal government is offering states $40 million in grants to promote better health. The money was appropriated as part of the 2009 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the federal health reform law.

"Chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of ten deaths among Americans each year, and they account for about three-fourths of the more than $2.5 trillion our nation spends annually on medical care," said Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement.

States will have the opportunity to apply for federal funding to combat these five leading chronic-disease related causes of death and disabilities:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Stroke
  4. Diabetes
  5. Arthritis

Funds will be available for three-year, statewide, coordinated programs that address these chronic diseases as well as such associated risk factors as obesity and lack of physical activity. All 58 U.S. states and territories are eligible to apply for grant funding.

Grant availability coincides with Prevention and Wellness Month, which the government has designated to increase public awareness of chronic illnesses and prevention.