This week marks the 20th anniversary of National Public
Health Week, an annual event dedicated to improving the health
of the American public. And for the record, we're not doing so
Ask many people where the United States ranks in terms of health
and you're likely to hear that that we're the healthiest in the
world (We're America after all, right? We're always #1!). But if
you ask someone immersed in the public health world, we know that
such a perception is dramatically incorrect. In fact, we rank
34th in the world for life expectancy. Likewise, we perform
poorly on many health measures, including infant mortality,
obesity, and chronic disease.
Furthermore, we have higher rates of poverty and greater income
inequality than other high-income countries. We eat more calories
than people in other countries, and yet
16 million American children go to sleep hungry every
In the United States, where you live, your income, your level of
education, and your race play a role in how healthy you are, with
your geographic location affecting your life expectancy by as much
as 15 years.
None of this is new information, but it should still shock and
sadden us. In an effort to shed attention on these important
issues, the American Public Health
Association each year sponsors National Public Health Week
during the first full week of April. This year's event runs from
April 6 through April 12.
Each day of
Public Health Week has a theme. Check out the schedule and
learn how you can get involved.
Monday, April 6: Raising the
Grade. Join the public health community to discuss the
real facts about the health of our country and learn how we can
"raise the grade" of the country's health.
Tuesday, April 7: Starting from
Zip. Learn about local/state/regional health disparities
and what can be done to achieve equal access to care across all
communities, as well as discuss how (and if)
the Affordable Care Act is successfully addressing disparities in
access to care.
Wednesday, April 8: Building
Momentum. Discuss what recent actions by
CVS, America's major food and beverage companies, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the
Obama, and many others mean for the health of the country.
Thursday, April 9: Building Broader
Connections. Discover communities that are working to
develop a network of partners and connections "to make the U.S. the
Healthiest Nation in One Generation."
Friday, April 10: Building on 20 Years
of Success. Join the public health community to celebrate
accomplishments that have been made across the past 20 years of
recognizing National Public Health Week and help shed renewed
attention of the hard work will still have to do.
To learn more or to get involved, check out the toolkits and
other resources on www.nphw.org.