Health Division celebrates National Public Health Week

Oakland County Health Division and public health agencies across the nation are observing National Public Health Week (NPHW) April 3-9.

NPHW is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and raise awareness about health issues.

“Public health improves the environments where we live, work, and play and connects people to resources available in our communities that support health,” said Kathy Forzley, health officer for Oakland County Health Division. “Our work affects the lives of our residents in countless ways, from treating and preventing disease outbreaks, to preparing us for natural disasters, and ensuring everyone has access to quality and affordable care.”

Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common,
costly, and preventable of all health problems in Michigan according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nine of the top ten causes of death can be linked to chronic diseases and injuries. Lifestyle and environment, in combination with genetics and other factors, can greatly impact the severity of these preventable diseases and conditions.

The Health Division’s Healthy Pontiac, We Can! (HPWC) Coalition formed in 2011 to help Pontiac residents gain access to healthy food, be active, and live tobacco free. HPWC is a prime example of public health efforts being done at the community level. The coalition includes a diverse group of primary and preventative healthcare professionals, mental health experts, human service agency specialists, educators, clergy, government leaders, and local residents that collaborate on projects such as an in-store guide to healthy eating, called Healthy Bites. Healthy Bites uses colorful signs with easy-to-use nutrition information that helps customers identify healthier options when shopping for food or ordering from café menus.

“Environmental changes such as the Healthy Bites project make eating healthier easier. There is more work to be done, but we are making great strides and will continue our efforts in helping Oakland County residents lead healthier lifestyles,” continued Forzley. “National Public Health Week is a great reminder that everyone can participate in making healthy choices to benefit themselves, their families, and their communities.”

OCHD’s 30 plus programs and services demonstrate our commitment to improving the community’s health. In addition, OCHD partners with various organizations across the county to impact the health of Oakland County residents. For instance:

• The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Food Program helps pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children up to age five receive healthy foods, nutrition education, and referrals to important services.

• The Public Health Speakers Team employs a diverse staff that provides health education presentations and resources that are current, reliable, and relevant about a variety of health topics including healthy eating and physical activity, food safety, and how to talk to your doctor.

• Healthy Oakland Partnership (HOP) works with interested Oakland County farmers markets to increase acceptance of food assistance programs, including SNAP and WIC benefits, and also works with interested schools to implement smarter lunchroom strategies, which increase healthy eating by students, farm to school initiatives, and the Fuel Up To Play 60 program.

To learn more about these initiatives and collaboratives that are making Oakland County a healthier place to live, work, and play, visit www.oakgov.com/health.

For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Nurse on Call is also available at 1-800-848-5533.

Since 1995, when the first full week of April was declared National Public Health Week, communities across the United States have observed National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. National Public Health Week 2017 runs April 3-9. For additional information, visit www.nphw.org.

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