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Public Health Week
April 10, 2012

Public Health Week: A Healthier America Begins Today

Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director

Each year, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are responsible for millions of premature deaths and cause Americans to miss 2.5 billion days of work, resulting in lost productivity totaling more than $1 trillion.

With nearly 1 million Americans dying every year from diseases that could be prevented, even small preventive changes and initiatives can make a big difference in living healthier lives. If we take small actions, our communities, homes and families will see the large benefits of preventive care and grow the movement. These preventive measures can help create a healthier nation and reach our goal of becoming the healthiest nation in just one generation.

We are met with a real and growing public health problem. If we fail to embrace preventive measures to limit disease and early death, the toll, measured in lives lost and health care dollars spent, is only going to get worse in the years to come.

Fortunately, we know that many diseases and deaths can be prevented. If Americans did the simple things, exercised more frequently, had healthier diets, avoided alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, practiced proper hand-washing and food preparation, practiced safe sex and provided proper treatment to those suffering from mental illnesses, we could dramatically reduce the burden of disease and death moving forward, helping save lives.

Of course, we can’t make significant improvements unless all Americans play a part in creating a healthier nation. That means everyone needs to take small steps to improve the well-being and health of their own communities.

This week, the American Public Health Association (APHA) is encouraging all Americans to work together to make small changes to their lives to help prevent chronic diseases and communicable diseases to create a healthier America. From April 2-8, APHA recognizes National Public Health Week, an opportunity to empower our families, friends, neighbors and, perhaps most importantly, ourselves to live healthier lives.

Join me in working to make Independence a healthier place to live, work and raise a family. Take a moment and make just one positive change a day that will help you live a healthier life. These seemingly small actions can have a big impact when they’re spread throughout an entire family, community and nation.

*information provided by cdc.gov and American Public Health Association

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