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An Ounce of Prevention = Pound of Cure

An Ounce of Prevention = Pound of Cure

The old adage is still true today, and Florida is doing something about it. In 2009, Florida began to realize the need for injury prevention. But to know that, we needed to know first of all what would be defined as injury?

Injury is defined as "Damage or harm caused to the structure or function of the body caused by an outside agent or force."

There are multiple categories that injuries can fall under, but they all boil down to two basic groups: unintentional (accidental) or intentional. Unintentional could be a myriad of events such as falls, fires, animal bites, choking or sports-related. Intentional injuries are most often the result of interpersonal or self-inflicted violence such as homicide, assault and suicide, along with a whole host of potentially violent incidents.

Florida saw the need for a prevention task force because it was found that injuries are the number one cause of death for ages 1 - 44, and the third largest cause of death overall behind heart disease and cancer. This study begat the Office of Injury Prevention.

A report compiled in 2009 showed the Sunshine State above the U. S. average in everything from motor vehicle injuries, to poisonings, drownings and suicides. This is not a statistic any state wants to boast.

"According to the CDC, injuries cost an estimated $406 billion per year in medical expenses and lost productivity. Nearly 50 million injuries occur each year, placing a staggering burden on the U.S. health care system. State budgets share this burden through Medicaid, state employee health benefits, health care for the uninsured, child welfare services, and lost tax revenue for the injured and their caregivers." (excerpt from the National Conference of State Legislature's LEGISBRIEF, Vol. 17, No. 3)

The Office of Injury Prevention was part of an initiative by 20 different state health departments which is helping to lower states' incidences of injuries. "In only five years, Florida has moved from being known within the national injury prevention community as an unfunded state to a progressive leader," says Dr. Ileana Arias, Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

See full story here.

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