APU Health & Fitness Original

National Public Health Week: Making Everyone Healthier

National Public Health Week, April 1-7, is a time to focus on important public health topics. For this year, the topics of National Public Health Week are:

  • Civic Engagement
  • Healthy Neighborhoods
  • Climate Change
  • New Tools and Innovations
  • Reproductive and Sexual Health
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • The Future of Public Health 

Related: A Colorful Plate Is Good for Your Health

How Do the Topics of National Public Health Week Relate to Public Health?

By choosing these topics, the American Public Health Association (APHA) wants the public to become more aware of how certain factors affect public health.

For instance, civic engagement refers to those actions we can take to become more involved in our communities. Through greater involvement in our communities, we can better recognize and address problems or look for ways to improve our overall health.

Healthy neighborhoods have a big impact on your overall health. In a healthy neighborhood, for instance, you can easily take a walk, play in a park, enjoy fresh air, and have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Public health promotes a healthy lifestyle, so where you live, work and play is an important contributing factor to your overall health. Everyone can help improve their neighborhood by getting involved in community projects. For example, you can volunteer to pick up litter or plant trees in your neighborhood or other areas of your community.

Climate change has been a topic in public health for quite some time. Everyone can take steps to reduce our human impact on the environment.

One way to participate in improving the environment is by reducing your carbon footprint, using the theme of “reduce, reuse and recycle.”

For instance, you can avoid the temptation to get the latest technology and reduce your purchasing of non-recyclable electronic products. You can reuse other household items and recycle your household trash, including paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, and metal cans. Check with your local trash service or the recycling center in your area to determine what they will and will not accept.

Another way to make an environmental impact is to see if your local utility service provides green energy for your area. Many utilities can offer a portion of your service from alternative forms of energy, which further helps your carbon footprint.

If you are interested in finding out just what your carbon footprint is, check out this carbon footprint calculator from the Environmental Protection Agency.

New tools and innovations refer to the advances in technology and medicine that have improved public health and welfare. These advances include:

  • Screening exams to catch diseases at the early stages (when treatments are more likely to be effective)
  • Vaccinations to prevent disease
  • Telehealth visits to visit with your doctor from your home or office
  • Smart gadgets that monitor various aspects of your health throughout the day and even while you sleep

Reproductive and sexual health involves getting screened for sexually transmitted diseases or obtaining birth control methods to avoid pregnancy. It also encompasses providing mothers and babies with the prenatal care needed for a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Your local health department (LHD) is a great resource for reaching out when you need reproductive or sexual health. Many health department services are low-cost or sometimes even free, so check with your LHD for the services provided in your area.

Emergency preparedness refers to the precautions every household should take in the event of a natural disaster. Having emergency supplies like first aid kits, medicines, flashlights, weather radios and an evacuation plan to get to a safe area can make a difference if a disaster occurs in your area.

The final topic of National Public Health Week involves the future of public health where communities come together to support equality and inclusiveness in public health. Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining public health became of paramount importance in helping us navigate the pandemic.

Many people might have been unaware of the role of public health before COVID-19. But since then, the role of public health has grown and will likely continue to do so in the future.

Related: Stress Hormones and How Your Body Physically Reacts to Stress

More Health Information Is Available Online

If you’re interested in public health, there are additional online resources with ways to get involved in public health. For more information about National Public Health Week and how you can help, please visit the American Public Health Association’s (APHA’s) website.

Dr. Hoban earned her Ph.D. in cellular molecular biology and physiology from Georgia State University in 2008. She earned her MPH degree in 1997 from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dr. Hoban has worked in maternal and child health and vaccine-preventable diseases. She was the project director for the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) in Georgia for over six years and was also the project director for the Georgia Immunization Study for over seven years. Dr. Hoban has numerous published articles based on her work in both vaccine-preventable diseases and maternal and child health. She is also currently a peer reviewer for the Maternal and Child Health Journal.

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