Press Release from the Tennessee Department of Health; April 5, 2010:
National Public Health Week is April 5-11
NASHVILLE, Tenn.Every community member plays a role in helping others stay healthy. Governor Phil Bredesen acknowledged the efforts of residents to make small changes to improve health by proclaiming April 5 11, 2010, National Public Health Week in Tennessee.
Everyone can do something to improve their health like eating more fruits vegetables, getting more physical activity or stopping tobacco use, said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. The changes one person makes can influence a family. When many families make the decision to get fit, it improves the health of the community, which ultimately serves to make a healthier Tennessee.
This years theme for the health observance promotes A Healthier America: One Community at a Time, aimed at motivating people to improve their personal health and share that commitment with others in their communities and across the nation. According to the Association of Schools of Public Health, public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles and research for disease and injury prevention. Public health professionals analyze the effect on health of genetics, personal choice and the environment in order to develop programs that protect the health of your family and community. To learn more about public health and career opportunities in the field, visit the Web at www.whatispublichhealth.org or www.apha.org.
Statistics from the American Public Health Association demonstrate that Americans face a challenge to turn the tide on poor health. Nationally, nearly one in three children are overweight or obese; nearly 900,000 people die from preventable conditions each year; nearly 20.6 percent of adults age 18 and older smoke cigarettes; and for the first time, American children may live shorter lives than their parents. Addressing public health means looking at socio-economic factors, studying clinical care, assessing availability of resources and analyzing health behaviors to find solutions.
Tennessee has made significant improvements in its communities by following the start small, think big approach promoted by this years week-long observance. Tennessee’s Immunization Program ranks fourth in the nation with an immunization rate of 83.1 percent in children ages 19 to 35 months and serves as a nationally recognized model for other states. Joint efforts of Project Diabetes and Get Fit TN continue to address the rising epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and have been a factor in decreasing prevalence rates of the disease in adults from 11.9 percent in 2007 to 10.3 percent in 2008. The Non-Smokers Protection Act implemented in 2007 created smoke-free environments in most public places, addressed the most prevalent cause of preventable death in the state and the nation, and decreased the high rate of adult tobacco use from 26.7 percent in 2005 to 23.1 percent in 2008.
Decreased rates of smoking and diabetes as well as improvements in immunization among children show that these programs have made a difference in resolving potentially life threatening health risks and improving health outcomes, emphasized Cooper. This is what National Public Health Week is about, highlighting the successes that come when communities, local and state officials and many others work toward a better health status for state residents.
National Public Health Week is sponsored by the American Public Health Association and seeks to educate the public, policy makers and public health professionals about the importance of public health agencies in preventing disease and promoting good health. This year marks the 15th year that communities across the country have celebrated annual NPHW to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the nations health.For more information about other activities planned for your area, view the Web at http://www.nphw.org/nphw10/calendar.cfm?fuseaction=viewstate&state=tn.
County health departments across the state are celebrating National Public Health Week in various ways. Many are offering childhood immunizations at no cost April 5 9. Contact your local health department for specific details. A complete list of locations can be found online at http://health.state.tn.us/localdepartments.htm.