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Abstract

Collectively, cardiovascular disease (including stroke), cancer, and diabetes account for approximately two-thirds of all deaths in the United States and about $700 billion in direct and indirect economic costs each year. Current approaches to health promotion and prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes do not approach the potential of the existing state of knowledge. A concerted effort to increase application of public health and clinical interventions of known efficacy to reduce prevalence of tobacco use, poor diet, and insufficient physical activity—the major risk factors for these diseases—and to increase utilization of screening tests for their early detection could substantially reduce the human and economioc cost of these diseases. In this article, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association review strategies for the prevention and early detection of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, as the beginning of a new collaboration among the three organizations. The goal of this joint venture is to stimulate substantial improvements in primary prevention and early detection through collaboration between key organizations, greater public awareness about healthy lifestyles, legislative action that results in more funding for and access to primary prevention programs and research, and reconsideration of the concept of the periodic medical checkup as an effective platform for prevention, early detection, and treatment.