I think many people living in the United States would be surprised to know that we are not one of healthiest nations in the world. Not even close.
The American Public Health Association (APHA) would like to change that, but they can't do it alone. During the first week of April, the APHA would like to bring more awareness to public health, and offer ways that we can all help this country become a healthy nation.
While the United States spends more on health care than any other nation in the world, it lags behind many developed nations in important health measures. Compared with other developed nations, the United States has relatively low life expectancy, high infant mortality rates, a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and persistent health inequities.
This is simply unacceptable. Since the early 1900s, APHA has vigorously promoted the need for universal health care coverage. However, while universal access to health care is vital to improving the health of our nation, it is just one element of reforming our health system. In order to more fully and effectively achieve a healthier nation we need to ensure the underlying social and economic conditions that allow individuals and communities to be healthy.
We must shift from a nation solely focused on treating individual illness to one that also promotes population-based health services that encourage preventive and early intervention practices.
Can we become a healthier nation? Would you be willing to help us get there?
If every one of us commits to promoting good health in our communities, we can create a ripple effect from coast to coast. Through just one neighborhood that makes its public parks accessible, one municipality that launches a bike-helmet safety program, one group of people who join together to bring fresh foods to school, or one health center that offers a vaccination program, we can create a collage of public health successes across the country.
Here's how you can help...
- Spread the word. There is even a Facebook fan page - The Healthiest Nation in One Generation.
- Get involved in the online discussion. Inspire others and share you ideas.
- Do one healthy thing for yourself every day.
- Get involved in your community today. What if your school insisted on serving healthy lunches? Or your employer offered to help you quit smoking? You’d probably be able to live a much healthier lifestyle, right?
- Share your story.
- Take Action: Participate in APHA's legislative action alerts and urge policymakers to vote for and act on behalf of public health programs and services.
And if you're a blogger you can spread the word by blogging about it. This is from Basil and Spice...
The American Public Health Association has designated April 5-11 as National Public Health Week, and the theme is A Healthier America: One Community at a Time. This high-minded task is particularly urgent, given that two-thirds of American adults and one-third of American children are overweight or obese.
Our increasingly obese population translates into higher rates for predictable, lifestyle-induced medical conditions such as diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease. One indicator is a recent study confirming that more young people (ages 20 to 45) are suffering disabling strokes, and the trend is attributed to surplus weight. Another dramatic indicator is a tenfold increase in private health insurance spending since 1987 on obesity-related medical problems.
I found a very interesting interactive site called World Health Rankings, you'll find a lot of important statistics there.
Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
Also at Catherine-Morgan.com
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