Empowering a Healthy Community

This week, the American Association of Public Health is sponsoring National Public Health Week. You can find much of the information blogged about this week at: http://www.nphw.org/tools-and-tips/themes/empowering-a-healthy-community.

Did you know?
• More than 80 million U.S. residents do not have access to fluoridated water, which reduces tooth decay by 25 percent. Every dollar spent on fluoridation saves more than $40 in dental care.
• Despite high immunization rates in the U.S., about 42,000 adults and 300 children die every year from vaccine-preventable disease. Every dollar spent on childhood immunizations alone saves $18.40.
• If 10 percent of adults began regularly walking, $5.6 billion in heart disease costs could be averted. Also, a sustained 10 percent weight loss could reduce an overweight person’s lifetime medical costs by up to $5,300 by lowering the costs linked to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol.
• More and more research finds that community health workers can help reduce health care costs. For example, in Baltimore, community health workers helped residents with diabetes better self-manage their health, resulting in a 27 percent decrease in Medicaid costs.
• If every state without a comprehensive smoke-free policy adopted one, they could reduce smoking-related deaths by 624,000. They would also save more than $316 million in lung cancer treatment and more than $875 million in heart attack and stroke treatment over five years.

What Can I Do?
• Stay up to date on recommended vaccinations for yourself and your loved ones.
• Look up the national Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to see how much physical activity you should get on a daily basis and encourage family and friends to do the same. Visit www.health.gov/paguidelines to learn more.
• 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.
• Join your Neighborhood Watch program.
• Inquire about volunteer opportunities at community health centers.
• Take part in national health observances, such as National HIV Testing Day, National Youth Violence Prevention Week and National Minority Health Month.
• Submit a letter to the editor to your local newspaper about what you learned during National Public Health Week!

For local health metrics in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, please go to: www.healthyntexas.org.