The value of public health is often overlooked but can’t be overstated. Public health is a multi-faceted field that works together to promote and protect the health all of people and communities. Public health efforts are believed to have added nearly 25 years to the average life expectancy of people in the United States this century (CDC, 2013). Some of the major victories in the field over the past 100 years include immunizations, declines in deaths from heart disease and stroke, and safer and healthier foods.
National Public Health Week (NPHW) is a time for communities across the United States to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. In 1995, President Bill Clinton issued a proclamation declaring the first full week of April as National Public Health Week. Since then the American Public Health Association has taken the lead on coordinating NPHW and has helped to continually grow the campaign since its inception.
This year’s theme is Healthiest Nation 2030 and focuses on what can be done to improve health outcomes and impacts of chronic disease to make the U.S. the healthiest nation in one generation.
So, what can be done to achieve this?
Many factors impact our health, including nutrition, physical activity, and health equity. A key piece to enabling all people and communities to attain and sustain good health is through the promotion of a health-in-all-policies approach and ensuring an equity lens is used during the decision making progress. Cross-sector partnerships, like the Plan4Health coalitions, are proven examples of how we can address health issues using this approach. Examples include pedestrian friendly road design and the elimination of food deserts. Check out the NPHW Facts for the Week for more information on these and other topics.
How can you get involved?
There are many simple ways to get involved in NPHW. Everyone is encouraged to become a partner to show your support for public health and to recognize the value that it brings to our everyday lives. Visit the NPHW Calendar of Events to see what’s going on in your area and to add your event. You can join the online conversation by using #NPHW and by joining APHA and many others for the sixth annual Twitter chat.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Ten great public health achievements in the 20th century. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/about/history/tengpha.htm
Images and media content courtesy of the APHA