Public Health Week focused on awareness, prevention

“Public Health: Start Here” is the theme of National Public Health Week 2014, an initiative of the American Public Health Association supported by the DeKalb County Health Department. This year, the public health community is focusing on raising awareness of the importance of prevention.

Today, 7 in 10 deaths in the U.S. are related to preventable conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer, according to the county health department.

“Investing $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts could save the nation more than $16 billion within five years,” DeKalb County Public Health Administrator Jane Lux said.

The Affordable Care Act is one recent development that is impacting public health services. The ACA is designed to shift the health system from focusing on treating the sick to proactively keeping people and communities healthy and safe, Lux said.

According to the Illinois Association of Public Health Administrators, 1 in 3 Illinois households receives direct services from a health department, such as WIC supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, immunizations, tobacco control, and health education. Adding in environmental health services focused on food and water safety would likely increase the impact to almost every household, Lux said.

To learn more about the health department’s programs and services, visit health.dekalbcounty.org or call 815-758-6673.

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