Chronic Disease Prevention through Healthy Environments

Investing in preventing disease is common sense. Prevention avoids the economic, social and emotional toll of illness. Consider these facts:

  • Incidence rates of childhood cancer have increased by 36 percent since 1975.
  • 1 percent of the National Institutes budget on childhood leukemia focused on environmental risk factors.
  • The average yearly cost of care for a child with asthma was $1,039.

A small but growing percentage of health care dollars is spent on prevention. The focus is on choices individuals can make to reduce risk factors within their control, like diet, smoking and exercise. Although these investments are having an impact, individuals can’t control unhealthy exposures in air, water, building materials and food.   

The focus of the Lowell Center is on the environments in which people live, learn, work and play; environments that can either increase risk of disease, or enhance health and well-being. Our unique role in disease prevention is to:   
  • Understand environmental links with disease and the organizational, economic and political dynamics that impede progress and hold promise.
  • Catalyze action across a range of organizations to exponentially increase investments in healthy environments. 

Preventing Asthma and Cancer

Our current priorities are asthma and cancer. 
  • Through research, systems analysis and strategic convening of stakeholders, the Lowell Center is on the cutting edge of asthma prevention, leading a first-in-the-nation effort to reduce the onset of new asthma cases.
  • Driven by conviction that the rise in incidence of many cancers can’t be solved by better treatments, we are mining the science on the role of exposures to toxics, and driving solutions among consumers, businesses and health care at the local, state and national levels.