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Quality Connections: Population Health 

Date of Publication:
JAN 2011
Associated Project:

It is estimated that at least two-fifths of deaths in the United States can be attributed to behavioral factors, with another one-fifth of deaths attributable to social circumstances and physical environmental factors. Obesity (adults and children), diabetes, asthma, tobacco-related illnesses, and other chronic conditions place great strain on the health and well-being of millions of Americans. Too often, these conditions—which are largely behavioral, social, economic, or environmental in nature—lead to premature death. To correct this, there is emerging effort to influence the health of individuals and populations where they spend their time—at home, at work, at school, or in their communities. Recognizing that wide chasms exist between the health of some communities and that of others, interest is growing in focusing national health improvement efforts with a population health approach. Population health seeks to foster health and wellness and to prevent (rather than simply treat) injury, illness, and disability. It does so by considering the context and circumstances of individuals, both as individuals and as members of a group with similar demographics or exposures, to improve outcomes.