National Public Health Week-April 5-11, 2010

April 6, 2010

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors proclaimed April 5-11 Public Health Week to recognize the contributions of public health and to highlight the issues important to improving the health of our community. This year's theme, A Healthier America: One Community at a Time, focuses on the special role communities play in building a healthier America. The health department reminds everyone that a healthier Fairfax community begins with each resident making a commitment to improve their personal health.

"Strong, healthy communities are dependent on strong local public health systems," said Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H., Fairfax County Director of Health. "Everyone in our community is a part of that system and has a vital role to play in improving public health."

This week, the Fairfax County Health Department encourages all residents to begin practicing five behaviors-if they haven't already-which will improve both individual and community health:

  • Wash Hands and Cover Coughs and Sneezes-Washing hands frequently and correctly and practicing proper respiratory hygiene are the best ways to protect yourself and others from the germs that cause illnesses.
  • Increase Physical Activity-Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health and fitness, and reduces your risk for many chronic diseases. Fitting regular exercise into your daily schedule is difficult for many. But, simple steps such as parking your car further away from the entrance of a store or taking the stairs instead of an elevator can make a difference.
  • Keep Vaccinations Up-to-Date-Vaccines help prevent infectious diseases and save lives. It is important for parents to review immunization records regularly and visit their health care provider or a health department clinic
  • Stay Tobacco Free-The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and responsible for about one in five deaths annually in the United States. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term health benefits.
  • Eat Healthy-Good nutrition is vital to good health and is essential for the healthy growth and development of children and adolescents. Major causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States are related to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Proper nutrition helps to prevent chronic diseases and conditions including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

Taking these steps and others to will help to address important public health issues including childhood obesity and the alarming number of preventable deaths that occur each year. Residents are encouraged to visit the health department's Web site to learn more about what they can do make our community healthier.

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