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: National Public Health Week Highlights Need for Continued Health Improvement

National Public Health Week Highlights Need for Continued Health Improvement

Managing Editor

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 great.

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 night.

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 American Planning Association, Michelle 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.

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The Healthy(ist) blog is a platform to share, learn about, and debate topics related to public and social health, scientific research, health communications, and behavior change.
We invite and encourage anyone interested in current public health and health communication trends and issues to join MMG's contributing bloggers in adding their voice to the ongoing discussion about how we can advance health, together.

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