April 6-12, 2015, is National Public Health Week this year, an opportunity to recognize all the contributions public health makes to communities across our country and focus on issues that are important to improving the health of our nation.
This year's themes are aimed at highlighting the value of prevention and the importance of well supported public health systems in preventing disease, improving lives, and making our communities healthier places to live.
Here are just some of the ways public health touches our lives every day.
This year's theme is Public Health: Start Here, aimed at highlighting the value of prevention and the importance of well supported public health systems in preventing disease, saving lives, and preparing for disasters.
Here are just some of the ways public health touches our lives everyday...
Raising the Grade (Monday)
The U.S. trails other countries in life expectancy and other measures of good health, and this holds true across all ages and socio-economic groups. In New Hampshire smoking prevalence is estimated to be 16.2%, reflecting a steady decline for the past 20 years. Maternal smoking (smoking during pregnancy) is an area where New Hampshire can do better. Maternal smoking is associated with a 27% increase in the risk of preterm delivery; nicotine has adverse health effects on both the mother and baby during pregnancy, contributing to multiple adverse outcomes. Certain areas of New Hampshire have noticeably higher maternal smoking rates than other areas. The health of mothers and children, including reducing maternal smoking, was identified as a priority in the New Hampshire State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). Learn more about where maternal smoking is affecting the State the most and what the Division of Public Health Services is doing about it.
Starting from Zip (Tuesday)
Today, your zip code says too much about your health. Within the United States, there are unacceptable disparities in health by race and ethnic group, state by state and even county by county. But we are also using zip codes to an advantage in helping people find the care they need by targeting information directly to them. Here in New Hampshire, residents can use the Center for Disease Control and Preventions "Find a Testing Site" zip code tool to locate an STD testing site near where they live. Just enter your zip code and the tool will assist you in locating an agency in that geographical area that providers STD, HIV and/or viral hepatitis testing. Many agencies offer low, no and reduced cost testing.
Building Momentum (Wednesday)
Influential leaders, companies and organizations are taking important steps in line with creating the healthiest nation. One of the most significant accomplishments and examples of collaboration in public health has been vaccinations. In addition to the childhood/adolescent immunization program efforts, the New Hampshire Immunization Program continues to work hard to increase adult immunization rates in our State, as well as increase public awareness about the importance of adult vaccination across the lifespan. Over a year ago, the NH Immunization Program launched the Start the Conversation campaign to encourage adult patients to talk with their health care provider about what vaccines they might need, particularly if they suffer from a chronic disease. Read more about adult immunizations.
Building Broader Connections (Thursday)
In the work to become the healthiest nation, we can't do it all on our own. We have to expand our partnerships to everyone that has an impact on our health. Here in New Hampshire, we are working with employers to understand asthma better and improve the lives of those with this chronic illness. More than 17.5 million adults in the United States suffer from asthma. According to the NH Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), in 2011 and 2012, 9.6% of the State's employed adults reported they had current asthma (approximately 62,000 working residents). More than a third reported they believed their asthma was caused or made worse by something at their current job. Read this Asthma Issue Brief to learn more.
Building on 20 Years of Success (Friday)
2015 is APHA's 20th anniversary for coordinating National Public Health Week, and the accomplishments of the public health community over the last two decades are significant. Breastfeeding is one of the most successful accomplishments for Healthier Mothers & Babies in the US. In the last 20 years, breastfeeding initiation has increased tremendously in the US and in New Hampshire. CDC's Breastfeeding Report card shows that in New Hampshire breastfeeding initiation was 73.7% in 2007 and increased to 88.5% in 2013. For low income women enrolled in the WIC Nutrition Program, support and counseling from breastfeeding peer counselors is an evidence-based public health strategy to increase initiation and duration. Learn more about DHHS breastfeeding initiatives.
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