During National Public Health Week, make a push to improve your health

Posted 6 April 2016 at 12:00 am

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, public health educator for Orleans County

The first week of April is National Public Health Week (NPHW), a week set aside showing us how we can choose healthier living.

National Public Health Week started in April 1995 by the American Public Health Association (APHA) with a focus on Public Health prevention topics. This year’s theme is, “Healthiest Nation 2030”. This year the focus is on working together to make changes in our health and the health of our communities.

“Working across county boarders allows us to collaborate more efficiently and effectively,” stated Paul Pettit, Director of both Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “Pooling resources not only help rural health departments financially, but provide us the opportunity to expand our outreach with the ‘one message, many voices’ approach. This allows us to send out timely, consistent health related information.”

Review the following calls for action and see what you can do to work toward becoming the Healthiest You 2016!

The focus areas chosen this year are:

Build a nation of safe, healthy communities
Help all young people graduate from high school
The relationship between increased economic mobility and better health
Social justice and health
Give everyone a choice of healthy food
Preparing for the health effects of climate change
Provide quality health care for everyone
Strengthen public health infrastructure and capacity

This article will only touch on a couple of the focus areas. To learn more about National Public Health Week and the movement for change, visit their website by clicking here.

Build a nation of safe, healthy communities: make health a priority. From healthy housing to parks and playgrounds, choose to walk and bike. When biking, make sure you follow the rules of the road and wear a properly fitted helmet, no matter what your age is. Support local law enforcement to help them make our communities safer. Support farmers’ markets and local businesses that value health, such as retailers that don’t sell tobacco/nicotine products.

Help all young people graduate from high school. Education is the leading indicator of good health, gives people access to better jobs, incomes and neighborhoods. Engage your children in learning activities, visit their schools and get to know their teachers. Participate in school activities with your children and participate in your Parent/Teacher/Student groups. Become a mentoryou can make a difference!

Give everyone a choice of health food. Our food system should provide affordable food with nutritious ingredients, free from harmful contaminants. Consider starting a home garden. If you don’t have a lot of space, talk with family and friends to see if they would like to build one together. Containers work well for small tomatoes and herbs. Encourage your family to eat more fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages.

One of the easiest ways to strive toward a healthier nation is to take care of you. Make sure you eat well, engage in physical activity often, spend less time in front of a screen, and get plenty of rest. Treat yourself and others with care and respect. And finally, remember to have fun and laugh … after all, laughter is the best medicine.