The Rutherford Polk McDowell District Health Department is teaming up with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition in honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. During the month of May, we challenge you to include 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Physical activity not only increases your chances of living longer, it also reduces your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer. In our local area most adults do not get enough physical activity.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes walking fast, dancing, or raking leaves. Do strengthening activities, like situps and pushups, at least 2 days a week. By getting active, you will sleep better, strengthen your bones, and lower your risk of depression.
No matter what shape you are in, together we can rise to the challenge to get more active during the month of May.
A healthier America begins with mental and emotional well-being
Sometimes the smallest change can make the biggest difference. If we take small actions, our communities, homes and families will see the large benefits of preventive care and grow the movement. Each year, nearly 1 million Americans die from diseases that could have been prevented. When it comes to mental and emotional well-being, the little things truly make an impact. Early detection of mental health problems and proper treatment are just a few of the ways people can stay healthy.
By identifying the signs of depression and suicide early and referring people to the appropriate resources, Americans can reduce their risk of devastating mental health issues. Even the smallest preventive changes and initiatives can make a big difference in living healthier lives.
Did you know?
- Many mental health and emotional disorders are preventable and treatable. Early identification and treatment can help prevent the onset of disease, decrease rates of chronic disease and help people lead longer, healthier lives.
- About one in five young people experience a mental, emotional or behavior disorder at some point in their lifetime.
- In a given year, fewer than half of people diagnosed with a mental illness receive treatment. The unmet need for mental health services is greatest among underserved groups, including elderly people, racial and ethnic minorities, those with low incomes, those without health insurance and residents of rural areas.
- More than 34,000 Americans die every year as a result of suicide — approximately one suicide every 15 minutes.
- Approximately 20 percent of high school students report being bullied at school, and more than 30 percent report having been in a physical fight.
- Risk factors for suicide include alcohol or substance abuse, isolation, extreme emotional stress, history of childmaltreatment and mental health conditions such as depression.
- Family and community rejection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, including bullying, can have profound and long-term impacts, such as depression, use of illegal drugs and suicidal behavior.
Together we can address these statistics and live longer and healthier lives. You can protect yourself, your family and community in many ways, no matter where you are. Taking action, both big and small, to evaluate and treat mental illness is more than just common sense — it’s effective. Below are just a few examples of how you can prevent mental illness:
- Promote positive early childhood development, including positive parenting and violence-free homes.
- Seek out proper treatment, promote your community’s resources and receive proper screening for mental health issues.
- Provide positive parenting practices to reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment and the emergence of child behavioral problems.
- Identify the signs of depression and suicide and refer people to appropriate resources.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper in response to a recent article that stresses the importance of promoting mental and emotional well-being during NPHW and beyond.
- Encourage employers to provide comprehensive mental health services as part of health care plans and promote violencefree environments.
- Become more involved in your community by becoming a mentor, tutoring youth or joining a faith or spiritual community.
- Encourage children and adolescents to participate in extracurricular and out-of-school activities.
- Create a local movement: Host an organized community activity, such as volunteering, that encourages social participation and inclusion for all people, including older people and those with disabilities.
- Encourage a local mental health care facility to train key community members such as adults who work with the elderly, youth and armed services personnel to identify the signs of depression and suicide and refer people to resources and help centers.
- Hold a meeting with a policymaker about the possibility of expanding access to mental health services, such as patient navigation and support groups, and enhancing linkages between mental health, substance abuse, disability and other social services.
- Work with hospitals and primary care physicians to provide tools, guidance and best practices to promote positive early childhood and youth development to prevent child abuse.
- Host an event with members of the military that provides easy-to-use information about mental and emotional well-being.
There is much more you can do to encourage mental and emotional well-being beyond these actions. By raising awareness of ways to diagnose mental health problems early during National Public Health Week and beyond, you can help your community be a healthier one.
On Friday, April 6, 2012, the American Public Health Association Student Assembly will celebrate its third annual National Public Health Student Day. If you are on a college campus, what will you do to celebrate public health and work to create a healthier nation? Visit www.nphw.org to learn how students across the country are celebrating NPHW Student Day.
A healthier America begins with reproductive and sexual health
SOMETIMES THE SMALLEST CHANGE CAN MAKE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE. If we take small actions, our communities, homes and families will see the large benefits of preventive care and grow the movement. Yet each year, despite the many easy ways to stay healthy, nearly 1 million Americans die from diseases that could have been prevented. Routine screenings and education can go a long way toward helping Americans improve reproductive and sexual health. These measures will lower the risk of disease and deaths that could have been prevented.
Did you know?
- Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended. Risks associated with unintended pregnancy include low birth weight, postpartum depression and family stress.
- The preterm birth rate has risen by more than 20 percent during the past 20 years. Preterm infants are more likely to suffer complications at birth, such as respiratory distress, die within the first year of life, and have lifelong health challenges, such as cerebral palsy and learning disabilities.
- There are approximately 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States each year — almost half occur in young people ages 15 to 24.
- More than 1 million people in the United States are estimated to be living with HIV infection, and more than 50,000 people become infected each year.
- Binge drinking and illicit drug use are associated with intimate partner violence and risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex and multiple sex partners.
- Infant mortality rates are higher among women of color, adolescents, unmarried mothers, people who smoke, those with lower educational attainment and those who did not obtain adequate prenatal care.
- Preconception and prenatal care can reduce birth defects, lower birth weight and reduce the likelihood of other preventable problems.
Together we can address these statistics and live longer and healthier lives. You can protect yourself, your family and community in many ways, no matter where you are. Taking action, both big and small, to promote reproductive and sexual health is more than just common sense — it’s effective. Below are just a few examples of how you can live healthier:
- Promote the importance of planning for healthy pregnancies in your community. Planning is especially important in preventing teen pregnancy and childbearing. It can also help improve women’s educational attainment, employment opportunities and financial stability.
- Eat healthy, stay active, stop using tobacco and monitor alcohol use and see a doctor regularly during pregnancy.
- Have routine preventive screenings to enhance early detection of HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and other STIs.
- Support comprehensive reproductive and sexual health services for men and women, as well as sexual health education.
- Discuss sexual health concerns with your health care provider.
- Communicate with children regarding their knowledge, values and attitudes related to sexual activity, sexuality and healthy relationships.
- Support the GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign, which seeks to reduce the spread of STIs among young people through information, communication, testing and treatment as necessary.
- Advocate for access to quality health services and support for safe practices to improve physical and emotional well-being to reduce teen and unintended pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and other STIs.
- Work with local schools to ensure they are providing comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education and services.
- Create a local movement: Collaborate with a local hospital to promote and offer HIV and other STI testing.
- Promote community-based prevention programs that address intimate partner violence and sexual violence.
- Encourage employers to provide health coverage and employee assistance programs that include family planning and reproductive health services.
There is much more you can do to encourage reproductive and sexual health beyond these actions. By raising awareness of ways to prevent reproductive and sexual health problems in your community during National Public Health Week and beyond, you can help your community become a healthier one.
A healthier America begins with preventing communicable diseases
SOMETIMES THE SMALLEST CHANGE CAN MAKE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE. If we take small actions, our communities, homes and families will see the large benefits of preventive care and grow the movement. Properly washing your food and hands before cooking to prevent the spread of bacteria or viruses are just a few of the ways people can stay healthy. Many diseases are preventable. Yet each year, 1 million Americans die from diseases that could have been prevented.
Did you know?
- Each year, roughly one in six Americans (48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Reducing foodborne illness by 10 percent would keep about 5 million Americans from getting sick each year.
- Most food poisoning is caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites, rather than toxic substances in the food.
- Raw foods are the most common source of foodborne illnesses because they are not sterile.
- When food is cooked and left out for more than two hours at room temperature, bacteria can multiply quickly.
- Some people are at greater risk for bacterial infections because of their age or an unhealthy immune system. Young children, pregnant women and older adults are at the greatest risk.
- Hand-washing and wearing gowns and gloves in hospitals cuts the number of infections of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, also known as (MRSA), and other hospital-acquired infections.
- Vaccination is the only medical intervention that has ever completely eliminated an illness in humans.
- One in nine people who contract a meningococcal disease, such as meningitis, will die from it, even if they are diagnosed and treated quickly.
- Cases and deaths from the most vaccine-preventable diseases targeted since 1980, such as chickenpox, have declined by 80 percent or more because of widespread immunization.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinations from birth through adulthood to provide a lifetime of protection against many diseases and infections, such as influenza, pneumococcal disease, human papillomavirus and hepatitis A and B.
Together we can address these statistics and live longer and healthier lives. There are ways you can protect yourself, your family and community from communicable diseases. Taking action, both big and small, to prevent communicable diseases such as foodborne illnesses is more than just common sense — it’s effective. Below are just a few examples of how you can prevent communicable diseases.
- Proper food handling, preparation and storage, as well as adoption of hand-washing practices within commercial establishments, health care facilities and homes, can help reduce contamination and prevent foodborne illness.
- Encourage your community to promote proper hand-washing and food preparation habits to limit the spread of communicable diseases, which frequently occurs via airborne viruses or bacteria.
- Vaccines should be administered at the earliest possible opportunity to achieve immunity and increase the chances of avoiding disease.
- Report cases of communicable disease outbreaks in your community, use Health MAP to report flu near you.
- Follow the recommended immunization schedule for children and adults.
- Advocate for paid sick days as a strategy to reduce communicable disease transmission in the workplace.
- Support local disease control policies that seek to lessen the impacts of some of the most serious communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, polio and tuberculosis.
- Encourage restaurants to implement proper handling, preparation and storage practices to increase food safety.
- Write to policymakers about the importance of ensuring that laboratories, businesses, health and community partners are prepared to respond to outbreaks of foodborne disease.
- Submit a letter to the editor in response to a recent article that highlights the importance of strengthening the nation’s comprehensive food safety system.
- Host a food preparation course at a local supermarket.
- Create a local movement: Ask policymakers to hold a town hall discussion on the President’s “Food Safety Working Group,” which is working to modernize food safety through collaborative partnerships with consumers.
There is much more you can do to prevent communicable disease. By raising awareness of prevention within your community during National Public Health Week, you can help members of your community live healthier and longer lives.
A healthier America begins with living tobacco and drug-free and preventing alcohol abuse
TOBACCO, DRUGS AND ALCOHOL KILL HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS each year. Death and disease from tobacco, drug and alcohol use is preventable. By living tobacco- drug- and alcohol- free, more Americans can live healthier, longer-lasting lives. If we take small actions, our communities, homes and families will see the large benefits of preventive care and grow the movement. Join the American Public Health Association as we work toward taking preventive measures to live healthier lives.
Did you know?
- Cigarette smoking, which is the most common form of tobacco use, causes approximately 443,000 deaths and costs about $96 billion in medical costs and $97 billion in productivity losses in the United States each year.
- Every day, nearly 4,000 young people try their first cigarette and approximately 1,000 will become daily smokers. More than 80 percent of adult cigarette smokers start before their 18th birthday. Children of parents who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves.
- More than a quarter of the U.S. population (88 million people), and more than half of all children in the United States, are exposed to secondhand smoke on a regular basis.
- Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol impaired driver – one death every 48 minutes.
- Chronic drug use, crime and incarceration are inextricably connected.
Together we can change these statistics and live longer and healthier lives. Each year, more than 443,000 people die from tobacco use, and nearly 80,000 die from alcohol use. Simple changes in lifestyle, daily routines and policy changes could save thousands of lives. The most effective prevention measures are created when the community, employers and employees work together to help reduce tobacco, alcohol and drug use. Taking action to do so is common sense, is effective and can save lives.
- Quit using tobacco products. Ask your health service provider or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for cessation support.
- Make homes smoke-free to protect yourself and your family members from secondhand smoke.
- Avoid binge drinking, use of illicit drugs or the misuse of prescription medications and, as needed, seek help from a clinician for substance use disorders.
- Encourage employers to develop substance management, tobacco-cessation and intervention programs for employees.
- Do not drive if you have been drinking alcohol or after taking any drug that can alter your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
- Advocate for smoke-free and tobacco-free policies that improve indoor air quality, reduce negative health outcomes among nonsmokers, decrease tobacco consumption and encourage tobacco users to quit.
- Promote tobacco-free environments in your home, business, school and areas of recreation to protect individuals from secondhand smoke.
- Ensure that youth cannot access alcohol in your home.
- Support implementation and enforcement of alcohol and drug control policies.
- Increase awareness on the proper storage and disposal of prescription medications.
- Create a local movement: Write a letter to the editor of your local paper in response to a recent article that highlights the importance of living tobacco- and drug-free while avoiding high-risk alcohol consumption during NPHW and beyond.
- Invite local policymakers and others to a community roundtable to discuss substance abuse and follow up with specific actions.
- Support your family, friends and neighbors when they are working to live tobacco- and drug-free, and reduce high-risk alcohol consumption.
There is much more you can do to help live tobacco- and drug-free and avoid alcohol abuse. By raising prevention awareness within your community during National Public Health Week, you can help your community members live healthier and longer lives. To learn more about substance abuse and mental health services, visit http://www.samhsa.gov.