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This week is National Public Health Week (NPHW). The annual observance brings U.S. communities together to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the public’s health. The theme for National Public Health Week (NPHW) 2012 — A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement — addresses the issue of prevention and wellness.
Nationwide, healthcare costs are rising, with more than $2.4 trillion spent in 2008, up 300% from 1990 . In many cases, these costs are increasing because preventive measures are not being taken to eliminate future expenditures. This week, from April 2-8, 2012, NPHW 2012 will focus on a holistic approach to preventing disease and promoting wellness by encouraging the public to avoid tobacco use, eat healthier, become more physically active and prevent unintentional injuries.
Beginning in 1995, when the first full week of April was declared National Public Health Week (NPHW) by President Bill Clinton, the public health community across the United States has celebrated NPHW by focusing on an issue that is important to improving the public’s health. The success of NPHW lies with each and every organization and individual who takes up the cause of public health and seeks to improve health in their communities. Check the NPHW Calendar to see if there is an event being held in your area.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) serves as the organizer of NPHW and develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to that year’s theme. Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of the American Public Health Association, said in a statement :
With nearly 1 million Americans dying every year from diseases that could be prevented, even small preventive changes and community initiatives can make a big difference in living healthier lives. This week, as public health takes center stage, we celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the public health community and recognize that each and every one of us has a role to play in improving the health of ourselves, our families and our communities.
Indeed, every year chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are responsible for deaths that could be prevented. Identifying and preventing illnesses and incidents before they develop is critical to improving our nation’s health. Even small changes can make a big difference in a healthier life. Here are some ideas:
- Active Living and Healthy Eating — promote healthy choices in your communities, such as bike lanes and farmer’s markets
- Communicable Diseases — encourage proper hand-washing and food preparation habits
- Mental and Emotional Well-Being — refer people with signs of depression and suicidal thinking to appropriate resources and help centers
Visit NPHW.org to see additional themes.
Highlight HEALTH recognizes and supports National Public Health Week. A healthier America begins today. Join the Movement!
- National Health Expenditures Aggregate. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Office of the Actuary, National Health Statistics Group. 2010 Jan.
- National Public Health Week 2012 begins today, focuses on disease prevention and wellness. APHA Communications. 2012 Apr 2.