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Harford observes Public Health Week

In conjunction with the observance of National Public Health Week from April 2-8, 2012, the Harford County Health Department urges individuals to engage in better health practices as a way of improving the health status of families, neighborhoods, workplaces and communities.

Uniting around this year's theme, "A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement", national, state and local public health organizations are partnering to encourage Americans to work together to make small changes in their lives that will help prevent chronic and communicable diseases, as well as accidental injuries.

Every year, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are responsible for millions of premature deaths. The most current statistics indicate that almost half of all Americans live with a chronic health condition. On average, Americans miss 2.5 billion days of work because of these illnesses, totaling more than a trillion dollars in lost productivity. In addition, unintentional injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, poisonings, and burns rank among the top 10 causes of death for people aged 44 and younger.

"Little steps can lead to big changes," Harford County Health Officer, Susan Kelly said. "Preventing serious illnesses and injuries before they occur is the key to improving our county's health. Because there are so many small steps all of us can take to begin leading healthier lives, sometimes it just takes a little motivation. National Public Health Week is a particularly appropriate time for emphasizing the need to focus our collective energy on the singular goal of helping people live longer, happier, healthier lives."

According to Kelly, this year's focus is on five lifestyle areas, one for each day, in which prevention, early detection and treatment are critical to better health. These include: (1) active living and healthy eating; (2) alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; (3) communicable diseases; (4) reproductive and sexual health; and (5) mental and emotional well-being.

Helpful tips are available on each topic by accessing the Health Department's website http://www.harfordcountyhealth.com.

Since the first full week of April was declared National Public Health Week by President Bill Clinton in 1995, communities across the United States have observed NPHW as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and to draw attention to issues that are important to improving the public's health.

Serving as organizer of NPHW, The American Public Health Association develops an annual national campaign and relies on state and local partners to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to that year's theme.

To learn more about National Public Health Week or to link to APHA Fact Sheets and other helpful information that can improve health, visit the Harford County Health Department website or the American Public Health Association website at http://www.nphw.org.

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