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Importance of Public Health

Click for larger imageThe public health challenges facing Ohio are daunting. This year’s data show Ohio has chronic disease rates above national averages:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Disabled adults
  • Adult smokers
  • Adults with poor mental health

More than 851,000 Ohioans suffer from substance dependence or abuse. However, only 11 percent of those needing treatment for alcohol and drug problems presently receive it. About half of all workers’ compensation claims in Ohio are related to alcohol or drug abuse in the workplace. Approximately 80 percent of Ohio inmates have a substance disorder. More than 80 percent of adolescents involved in the criminal justice system report witnessing or being victimized by high levels of violence at home, at school or in their neighborhood. Nearly one-third of these youths report significant mental health problems.

Public costs

The costs of not addressing these and other public health challenges are staggering:

  • Depression costs U.S. employers more than $35 billion a year in reduced performance at work.
  • Obesity-related medical claims account for 2.8 percent of all medical costs for adults 19 to 64 years old.
  • Medical charges for smokers are 18.1 percent higher than for nonsmokers.
SOURCES: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Ohio Alliance of Recovery Providers, Flannery, Singer, and Wester, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research