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The Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control and its chronic disease program areas work closely with their partners throughout Indiana in coordinating sustainable efforts to improve Indiana’s burden of chronic disease. Chronic diseases are those illnesses and health conditions which have prolonged impact on a person’s health. These diseases include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in Indiana and the United States. In addition to the human cost, the economic burden associated with chronic diseases is tremendous – billions of dollars are spent annually in Indiana in treatment of chronic diseases and their complications; billions are also estimated to be lost due to decreased workplace productivity related to chronic diseases.
A large majority of Indiana’s 6.3 million persons are affected by one or more chronic diseases. Indiana has significantly higher rates than the national median for a variety of chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke represent the top three killers in Indiana. Many of these cases directly link to the alarming rates of obesity and tobacco use in Indiana - 30% of Hoosier adults report being obese and Indiana ranks among the highest in states in adult smoking (BRFSS 2009).
Chronic diseases are among the most prevalent and costly health problems in Indiana and the nation. They are, however, often preventable and manageable through early detection, improved nutrition, increased physical activity, avoiding tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, and treatment therapy.