Public Health Funding is the dollars per person that are spent on public or population health through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources Services Administration, and the state. This does not include spending from other sources such as county or city governments, nor does it include state spending for health that is included under other departmental spending such as education and transportation. The 2013 ranks are based on 2011 and 2012 data from Trust for America’s Health.
High levels of spending on public health programs are indicative of states that are proactively implementing preventive and education programs aimed at improving health. Spending on public health programs represents only a small fraction of all health care spending (~ 2 percent), yet its impact can be tremendous. Recent research has shown that an investment of $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking or other tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion annually within 5 years. This is a return of $5.60 for every $1 invested. Public health funding for behavioral or environmental interventions can contribute more towards improving health outcomes than funding spent on medical care. Increased spending on public health programs is associated with a decrease in mortality from preventable causes of death. In April 2013, The Trust for America’s Health released a report that took a state-by-state look at public health funding and important health facts.
Public health funding ranges from more than $200 per person in Alaska and Hawaii to $37 per person in Nevada. The average funding in the United States is $92 per person, unchanged from last year’s edition.
 Levi J, Segal LM, Juliano C. Prevention for a Healthier America: Investments in Disease Prevention Yield Significant Savings, Stronger Communities. Washington, DC: Trust for America's Health; July 2008. http://healthyamericans.org/reports/prevention08/Prevention08.pdf. Accessed August 3, 2012.
 Trust for America’s Health. Prevention for a Healthier America: Investment in Disease Prevention Yield Significant Savings, Stronger Communities. 2011.
 Mays, GP. Evidence links increases in public health spending to declines in preventable deaths. Health Affairs. 30.8 (2011):1585.
 Trust for America’s Health. Investing in America’s health: A state-by-state look At public health funding and key health facts. April 2013. http://healthyamericans.org/assets/files/TFAH2013InvstgAmrcsHlth05%20FINAL.pdf. Accessed October 21, 2013.
The measures tracked by America's Health Rankings are those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For a state to improve the health of its population, efforts must focus on these measures, these determinants of health.