National Public Health Week, April 1-7:
Improving the health of your community

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[April 03, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- Every day, every one of us benefits from public health -- whether it's from fluoride in the water, food inspections at your local restaurant, the licensed plumber fixing your sink or hundreds of other programs. Public health touches us all.

The Illinois Department of Public Health, in conjunction with 96 certified health departments across the state, works every day to control infectious diseases, ensure food safety, conduct newborn screenings, provide immunizations, regulate hospitals and nursing homes, compile birth, death and other statistics, and educate communities on how to live healthier lives.

"National Public Health Week is an opportunity for you to look around your community and see how you can make it healthier -- like starting a community garden, working with local parks and recreational facilities to increase access to safe places to be physically active, or work with local authorities to initiate violence prevention efforts," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Each day you can focus on a different aspect of public health by identifying some of the problems and learning what you can do to eliminate them.

See suggestions below.

The Illinois Department of Public Health created the We Choose Health initiative upon receiving a $25 million Community Transformation Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We Choose Health is a multiyear initiative in which the state and communities are working together to address nutrition and access to healthier foods; increase physical activity; promote breastfeeding; reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in multiunit housing complexes and outdoor places; improve community environments to increase opportunities for physical activity; and improve the social and emotional health of students.

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For more information on We Choose Health and resources to increase public health in your community, visit

You can also check with your local health department for upcoming events or health fairs in your area.

On Wednesday at 1 p.m., Hasbrouck, the state health director, will attend the World Health Day Community Fair hosted by the Decatur Health Coalition at Grace United Methodist Church in Decatur. At 2 p.m., he will attend an open house at the Douglas County Health Department in Tuscola. On Friday at 1:30 p.m., he will attend a National Public Health Week event at the Kane County Health Department in Aurora.

National Public Health Week is a time for you to take charge of your health and improve the health of your community.

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


From the Illinois Department of Public Health


A Safe and Healthy Home April 1


What you can do

Nine out of every 10 childhood poison exposures happens at home, with medications being among the top culprits.

Keep potentially dangerous household products, such as cleaning products, cosmetics and prescription medications, locked up and out of children's reach.

1-800-222-1222 will automatically connect you to your regional poison control center.

A lack of home natural disasters and other emergencies plan.

Gather the family together to create an emergency stockpile kit, such as having a 3-day supply of water, and develop written evacuation and emergency communication plans.

Healthy Schools April 2


What you can do

In 2011, only 29 percent of high school students surveyed nationwide took part in the recommended 60 minutes per day of physical activity and only 31 percent attended a daily PE class.

Speak up about the importance of physical education in school.


Every day, nearly 4,000 young people try their first cigarette and about 1,000 will become daily smokers.

Volunteer for school health education efforts that teach kids to say no to tobacco, drugs and alcohol.

Advocate for smoke- and tobacco-free policies at schools.

Healthy Workplace April 3


What you can do

The cost of obesity among full-time employees tops $73 billion, which includes the total value of lost productivity and medical costs.

Take simple steps to create workplace wellness, such as catering meetings with healthy foods or organizing workplace walking groups.

In 2009, about 572,000 violent crimes, such as rape, robbery and assault, happened at work.

Put in place mechanisms for recognizing and addressing the potential for workplace violence.

Safety on the Move April 4


What you can do

In 2010, more than 4,200 pedestrians died in traffic crashes and 70,000 were injured.

More than 600 bicyclists died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010 and 52,000 were injured.

Promote safe biking and walking to school, such as your local Safe Routes to School Program. 

States with the highest levels of biking and walking also have the lowest levels of costly chronic disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

Motor vehicle-related injuries are the leading cause of death among U.S. children.

Use the proper vehicle restraint systems for your child.  Child safety seats reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for children ages 1 to 4 years old.

 Healthy Communities April 5 


What you can do

Despite high immunization rates in the U.S., about 42,000 adults and 300 children die every year from vaccine-preventable disease.

Stay up to date on recommended vaccinations for yourself and your loved ones.

Fewer than 15 percent of adults and 10 percent of adolescents eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables each day.

Support local farmers markets and other access points to fresh fruits and vegetables. It's not only good for your health; it's good for the local economy too.

[Copied from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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