Why Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) is Important
The U.S. spends much more on health care than any other country in the world, yet the average life expectancy is far below many other countries that spend less. More than 75 percent of U.S. health care dollars are spent treating people with chronic conditions. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes top the list of the most deadly and expensive chronic diseases. Many of these diseases are directly related to three unhealthy behaviors: physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and tobacco use. Combined, these behaviors cost Minnesotans almost $6 billion in health care costs every year.
The good news is that these behaviors are modifiable, and prevention is much less expensive than medical treatment. SHIP focuses on prevention by promoting opportunities to be active, eat healthy, and prevent or stop tobacco use. Many studies have found that investing in prevention pays off. For example, The Trust for America’s Health estimates that $5.60 is returned for every $1 invested in prevention.
Using proven strategies to improve health
Recognizing that good health is created where Minnesotans live, work, learn, and play, SHIP focuses on proven and sustainable chronic disease prevention strategies and on community solutions that provide opportunities for all people in Minnesota to be healthy, especially for people in communities that are facing the greatest health disparities.
SHIP works at the community level to make positive changes that expand opportunities for residents to eat healthier, be more active, live without the harms of commercial tobacco use and/or exposure to secondhand smoke, and experience positive mental, social and emotional health. This approach concentrates on changing policies and shaping the environments that make healthier choices practical and available to everyone.
Thanks to effective, evidence-based state policies, such as clean indoor air policies and policies that raise the price of cigarettes—discouraging youth from starting and adults to quit—Minnesota’s smoking rates are the lowest ever recorded. SHIP commercial tobacco work has helped contribute to a significant decrease in current smoking among adults from 2018 (15.1%) to 2020 (13.8%).*