The Problem: The shortage of adequate, affordable housing is a major public health problem, which draws family resources away from other health expenditures, such as nutritious food and healthcare, and exposes children and others to lead and other pathogens. CDC and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Problem: Tobacco use is a source of chronic and fatal illnesses for users and persons with secondary exposureindividuals who receive secondary exposure. Smoking is responsible for approximately one in five deaths in the United States, causing 480,000 deaths annually. Smoking increases risk for stroke by up to four times, coronary heart disease by up to four times, lung cancer by about 25 times, and lowers overall health. Quitting smoking vastly reduces health risks; within 2-5 years of cessation, risk of stroke drops to that of a non-smoker.
The Problem: Illicit drug use is a well-recognized public health problem. Overdose and other less acute harms are associated with the non-medical use of controlled substances. The policy response to illicit drug use in the United States has historically focused on a punitive model. Resulting high rates of incarceration have placed large numbers of non-violent offenders into correctional facilities. Life in prison exposes inmates to numerous health risks.
The Problem: Tuberculosis is a classic public health scourge. TB is one of the top 10 causes of death globally. World Health Organization: Tuberculosis Fact Sheet. The risks associated with TB have increased with the emergence of more virulent and drug-resistant strains of the disease. In the United States, the rate of TB incidence and associated mortality declined precipitously for most of the 20th century.
The Problem: Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, remains a major public health problem. Though largely preventable, it is the most commonly occurring chronic disease between the ages of 6 and 19 years old. CDC: Dental Carries Fact Sheet. Advanced tooth decay can cause significant pain and loss of the teeth, and can be costly to treat. CDC: Oral Health: At a Glance: 2009.
The Problem: Annually, more than 32,000 people are killed in motor vehicle crashes, and an additional 2 million are injured in the United States. CDC: Motor Vehicle Safety Factsheet. Crashes occur due to impaired driving, inexperience, faulty vision and general recklessness. In congested areas, pedestrian safety is also a major public health concern. Motor vehicle crashes account for 20% of deaths of children ages 1-14 years old.