Maryland has higher mortality rates from heart disease, cancer, and stroke (HCS) than the United States as a whole. More than 50% of deaths from HCS are premature, occurring before age 75. The health care and indirect costs from these three diseases total approximately $4.4 billion annually, placing a major economic burden on the state. A large body of scientific literature has shown the potential for the prevention of HCS. Currently, Maryland, like virtually all states, lacks the type of systematic, well-coordinated, comprehensive intervention campaign needed to lower morbidity, mortality, and health care costs from these three diseases. Such a campaign has now been planned by the University of Maryland at Baltimore. Similar campaigns are needed throughout much of the United States.
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