HHS makes $40 million available for states' chronic disease prevention

States and territories are eligible for up to $40 million to strengthen and coordinate efforts to prevent chronic disease, the Health and Human Services Department announced Tuesday.

The initiative is funded by the healthcare reform law and targets the nation's five leading chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will oversee the initiative, expects to award funds for three-year programs.

"Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year, and they account for about three-fourths of the more than $2.5 trillion our nation spends annually on medical care," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. "Fortunately, many chronic diseases are preventable, and these new resources will assist states and territories in the implementation of proven prevention and wellness programs that will save lives and lower health care costs for all Americans."