National Public Health Week: April 7 – 11, 2014
During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association brings together communities across the U.S. to observe National Public Health Week. It’s a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our communities.
Evidence shows that we can expect some of the biggest public health returns by aligning our services and programs with a broad definition of health that includes physical, mental and social well-being and not simply the absence of disease. After all, we know that health starts long before the doctor’s office. It starts where we live, work, learn and play.
Please check out some of programs and initiatives that are highlighted below. And let us know what you think. We’ll be talking about National Public Health Week on Facebook and Twitter all week. We encourage you to join the conversation.
DID YOU KNOW?
Since 1900, the average lifespan of persons in the U.S. has lengthened by more than 30 years; 25 years of this gain are attributed to advances in public health, which include immunizations, tobacco control efforts, eliminating lead-based products in the environment, preparedness for pandemic influenza and many more.
National Public Health Week Daily Themes:
Monday, April 7 - Be healthy from the start
Breastfeeding not only provides abundant health benefits for mom and baby, it can help improve public health and even impact health care costs.
One preschooler in five in the U.S. is at least overweight, and half of these are obese. A baby's risk of becoming an overweight child goes down with each month of breastfeeding. In the U.S., most babies start breastfeeding, but within the first week, half have already been given formula, and by nine months, only 31 percent of babies are breastfeeding.
A study published in 2010 in the journal Pediatrics estimated that the nation would save $13 billion per year in health care and other costs if 90 percent of U.S. babies were exclusively breastfed for six months.
These are just a couple reasons why encouraging moms to breastfeed and promoting breastfeeding-friendly communities are two key initiatives in our fight against obesity.
To help, we offer a support group for moms and facilitate the Breastfeeding Welcomed Here Pledge locally.
Tuesday, April 8 - Be prepared and have an emergency plan
After 9/11, health departments across the U.S. took on the additional role of emergency planning to protect public health in the event of a large-scale medical disaster. KCHD’s Emergency Preparedness Program enhances community preparedness by encouraging and supporting readiness planning efforts among all community members, from individual households to large corporations. Check out some of our efforts and resources here including our Family Disaster Supplies and Preparedness Calendar .
Wednesday, April 9 – Be wise and immunize
Prevention is now a nationwide priority, and a key way to prevent the burden of disease in our community is through immunizations. Nationally, mandatory childhood immunizations programs have resulted in the elimination or reduction of many childhood diseases including measles, chickenpox, HIB meningitis, polio, etc. The CDC estimates that immunizations save the lives of more than 3 million children per year. Childhood immunizations also save $9.9 million in direct health care costs and prevent 14 million cases of disease.
Click here to learn about our various immunization programs.
Thursday, April 10 – Be knowledgeable and eat well
As the local public health authority, we help keep food safe by performing food-safety inspections at restaurants and grocery stores. We also conduct nutrition education and promote healthy eating through initiatives like our Nutrition Education Activity Training (NEAT) after-school program . There is growing evidence illustrating the importance of social and physical environments in the obesity epidemic and the need for changes in these environments to better facilitate changes in lifestyle – changes in places like our daycares and worksites .
Friday, April 11 - Be the healthiest nation in one generation
By serving as a facilitator and catalyst for partnerships with nonprofit organizations, health care providers, local government, employers, schools and many other organizations that make up the public health system, the Knox County Health Department can have a dramatically more profound impact on the health of Knox Countians.
One of our major initiatives this year is facilitating and conducting a communitywide health assessment in support of Together! Healthy Knox. The results of the assessments will provide useful information for local nonprofit organizations, hospitals, medical providers and many of our other health partners.
We hope you’ll participate by completing a survey, joining a focus group or taking the call if a researcher phones you. Click here to learn more about the community health assessments.